BATON ROUGE, La.- —
LSU and the LSU Alumni Association will honor major benefactor Lod Cook on Friday, Oct. 7, with a celebration luncheon marking the 10th anniversary of Lod & Carole Cook Conference Center, home of the Cook Hotel.
Gov. Bobby Jindal declared Oct. 7 to be Lod Cook Day in recognition of his distinguished career and the contributions made by Cook and his late wife, Carole, to the university and the alumni association, as well as his contributions to the community and the state.
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden will present Cook with a key to the city at the luncheon for university officials and donors at the Lod Cook Alumni Center.
Cook, of Sherman Oak, Calif., was raised in Grand Cane, a tiny community southwest of Shreveport. He graduated from Grand Cane High School, one of five graduates in the class, then headed south to Baton Rouge, bound for LSU.
He graduated from LSU in 1950 with a degree in mathematics, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and returned to the university to earn a second degree in petroleum engineering. After obtaining an MBA from Southern Methodist University, he was employed by the Atlantic Refining Corporation, later known as Atlantic Richfield, or ARCO.
Cook spent 39 years at ARCO rising through the ranks. He spent most of his last decade with the company as its chief executive officer. As CEO of ARCO, Cook was lauded for his unparalleled leadership that created profit margins approached by few and returns on equity equaled by none. He retired in 1994 and was named chairman emeritus.
Cook’s role as ARCO’s chief executive officer thrust him into the political arena where he worked closely with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Working relationships with these commanders in chief grew into close friendships.
Cook was later named chairman of the Reagan Presidential Library and also sits on the board of trustees for the George H.W. Bush Library.
The philanthropist was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2000, is a member of prestigious Augusta National Golf Club and was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, among many other honors.
About the time Cook retired from ARCO, he donated the money for the construction of the LSU Alumni Center, which was dedicated in 1994 with Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in attendance.
Lod and Carole Cook also made the initial donation for the construction of the conference center and hotel, which opened in October 2001.