Lod Cook - The Man Behind the Name
Most people spend their lives trying to achieve success. Whether defined by happiness, wealth, or freedom, people strive every day to achieve success. For Lod Cook, the road to achieving success began in the small northwest Louisiana town of Grand Cane.

Located approximately 30 miles south of Shreveport in DeSoto Parish, Grand Cane boasts a population of 191 (that total coming from 2000 census figures), and it might be hard to believe this small community produced one of the most successful businessmen in the country.

Cook was born on June 17, 1928, in Castor, La., and reared in Grand Cane during the Great Depression. In 1946, he graduated from Grand Cane High School, one of five graduates in the class. Cook knew his path to success led out of DeSoto Parish. His involvement in the 4-H Club led him to LSU in the mid-1940s as he headed south to Baton Rouge and LSU. As a college freshman, Cook lived in the cattle stables at the LSU AgCenter.

After graduating from LSU in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, Cook enlisted in the U.S. Army and served three years during the Korean War. He returned to LSU and earned a second bachelor's degree, this time in petroleum engineering.
 
After obtaining an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University, he joined Atlantic Refining Corporation, later known as Atlantic Richfield (ARCO). Cook spent 39 years at ARCO rising through the ranks. He spent most of his last decade with ARCO as the company's chief executive officer. As CEO, Cook was lauded for unparalleled leadership exploits, with profit margins approached by few and returns on equity equaled by none. He retired in 1994, at which point he was named Chairman Emeritus.

Cook's role as CEO thrust him into the political arena where he worked at arm's reach with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and working relationships with these commanders in chief grew into close friendships. About the time Cook retired from ARCO, he donated the money for the construction of the Lod Cook Alumni Center and the Lod and Carole Cook Conference Center at LSU. Special guests at the grand opening of the alumni center were Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, and Ford attended the grand opening ceremony of The Cook Hotel.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Cook 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 by Queen Elizabeth II the Insignia of Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1994.
 
Cook is a member of the Chancellor's Court of Benefactors for Oxford University in England and a Life Regent of Pepperdine University. He previously served on the board of advisers of the Carter Center of Emory University. He is a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and a director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. His financial contributions and work with the Library Foundation of Los
Angeles led to the dedication of the Lodwrick Cook Rotunda.

Cook resides in Sherman Oaks, Calif. A diehard Tiger fan, Cook follows LSU football daily and attends as many home games as possible.
 
(At right) A portrait of Lod and the late Carole Cook, which hangs in the lobby of The Cook Hotel.

   

 

© Copyright 2017, LSU Alumni Association. All rights reserved.