Businessman to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Businessman to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate
Andrew J.C. Cherng is the founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group.

Cal Poly Pomona and The California State University will present an honorary doctorate to Andrew J.C. Cherng, founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., (PRG), the parent company of Panda Inn, Panda Express and Hibachi-San.

The formal conferral will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 14, during the 2008 commencement exercises for Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration in the University Quad.

“Cal Poly College of Business and Panda Restaurant Group share similar values in teaching and community involvement. I am humbled to receive this honorary doctorate from such a distinguished learning institution for which I have so much respect,” Cherng said.

With a focus on developing relationships with his consumers, staff and community, Cherng and his family turned one storefront into the nationwide leader in Asian foodservice.

“We are so pleased to honor Andrew Cherng for his accomplishments,” said Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz. “He is truly an inspiration for our students. He developed his family business into an industry model, and all the while, he has maintained a commitment to bettering the lives of those in Panda Restaurant Group and the entire community.”

PRG began in 1973 when Andrew and his father Master Chef Ming Tsai Cherng combined their talents to open Panda Inn, one of the first Chinese restaurants in Pasadena. The menu is a cutting edge blend of styles from both Mandarin and Szechwan traditions that has introduced an array of new flavors to Southern California cuisine.

Cherng broke new ground in the restaurant industry by providing gourmet recipes in a quick service environment with the launch of Panda Express in 1983. Panda Express restaurants now include over 1,000 locations throughout 36 states including Puerto Rico.

Cherng believes that each new restaurant opening is another opportunity to impact the lives of both the associates and the community they serve. PRG currently employs over 18,000 associates and exceeded $1 billion in sales in 2007.

Andrew Cherng becomes the 14th person to be honored with an honorary doctorate at Cal Poly Pomona, joining Stuart Sperber (2007), Jack Dangermond (2005), Julia Child (2000), W.K. Kellogg (1998), Charles Oliver (1996), Charles Voorhis (1995), Norman Williamson (1995), W. Keith Kellogg (1994), Michi Nishiura Weglyn (1993), James Collins (1992), Russell Mawby (1989) and Emory Morris (1969).