Lawry’s Restaurants Chairman Richard Frank to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Lawry’s Restaurants Chairman Richard Frank to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate
Richard N. Frank

Cal Poly Pomona and The California State University will present an honorary doctorate to Richard N. Frank, chairman of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc. in recognition of his dramatic impact on the restaurant industry and service to the university.

The formal conferral will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 14, during the 2009 commencement exercises for Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management in the University Quad.

A long-standing advocate and supporter of The Collins College, Frank established an endowed lectureship series bearing his name. The Richard N. Frank Lectureship Series was established in 1988 to allow students a unique opportunity to hear directly from the industry’s leaders and legends as they bring hospitality management to life through their own real-world experiences.

“Cal Poly Pomona is proud to recognize Richard N. Frank, who is truly an industry visionary,” said Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz. “Richard helped build a family business into company whose reputation for excellence is known around the world. As a member of The Collins College’s board, he has also made himself available to the university and its students. The annual distinguished lecture series in his name is a reminder of his commitment to educating future industry leaders.”

Frank is chairman of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc., a family-owned enterprise of award-winning restaurants, including Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, and Las Vegas; the Five Crowns; the 80-year-old Tam O’Shanter Inn in Los Angeles; and six licensed Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurants in Asia. In 1950, he joined the restaurant company, which was founded in 1922 by his father, Lawrence L. Frank, and his uncle Walter Van de Kamp.

For many years, Frank also served as president and chief executive officer of Lawry’s Foods, Inc., which produces some 100 products including Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, America’s best-selling formulated seasoning. Under his innovative leadership, Lawry’s Foods, Inc. grew from a fledgling family business into a $150 million company that made the Lawry’s name and its fanciful “L” trademark famous from coast to coast. Lawry’s Foods, Inc. was acquired by Thomas J. Lipton, (a division of Unilever) in 1979, and Frank remained in its service until his retirement from that company in 1988.

In addition to his continuing role at Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc., Frank is involved with numerous philanthropic and educational organizations in the greater Los Angeles area.

“In my long career I know that more than ever it is imperative that we invest in education because our industry and our economy require leaders to continue the growth of our country into the future. I am humbled and extremely pleased to be receiving this honor,” said Frank.

He and his wife, Mary Alice, reside in Pasadena. They are the parents of three grown children, Laurie, Susan and Richard R. who, as president and CEO of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc., represents the third generation of the Frank family active in the management of the company. The Franks have five grandchildren, ages 14 to 25.

Also receiving an honorary doctorate in June will be Don Huntley of Huntley Moore Farms in Fresno. His degree will be conferred during the 2009 College of Agriculture commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, in the University Quad.

Frank and Huntley join an extraordinary group of people who have been awarded an honorary doctorate at Cal Poly Pomona, including Andrew Cherng (2008), 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).