LSU mourns death of alumnus, donor Lod Cook
BATON ROUGE - Lodwrick "Lod" Cook -- LSU alumnus, oil executive and noted philanthropist -- has died. He was 92.
“Lod Cook was an amazing man and a visionary leader who was dedicated to improving his community and providing others with opportunities to pursue their dreams," LSU Interim President Tom Galligan said. "As we mourn this tremendous loss, our LSU Family offers our condolences to Mr. Cook’s family and we hope they find some comfort in knowing that his tremendous contributions to LSU have left a legacy that will be honored for generations to come."
Cook earned two bachelor's degrees from LSU, the first in mathematics and the second in petroleum engineering. Between degrees, he served in the U.S. Army. He later earned an MBA from Southern Methodist University, taking courses in the evening while working full-time.
Cook spent 39 years with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), starting as an engineering trainee and ultimately being named chairman and CEO. When he retired in 1995, he was named chairman emeritus.
He continued a range of business interests, but came to be widely recognized for his philanthropy.
A longtime supporter of LSU and member of the Alumni Association board of directors, he provided significant funding for the alumni center that bears his name.
On the day it was dedicated in 1994, former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush attended the ceremony, as did Governor Edwin Edwards.
Cook later was a major contributor to the development of the Cook Hotel and Conference Center.
A 2017 alumni association publication included advice Cook had given to the LSU gymnastics team during a visit.
“Life is not a two-way street," he said. "You have one chance at it. You’re born over here (on this end of life) and you don’t have any control over that. You exit over here (on the other end of life) and you have a little control over it but so many times you don’t. It’s what’s in between that you can influence. It’s during this period in the middle that you have a chance to do something. You get an education. I inherited a good family who believed in education. Here you are today but you don’t get to come back and start over.”
Far beyond LSU, Cook was a member of the Chancellor's Court of Benefactors at Oxford University and in 1994 was named by the British monarchy as an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
He also served as a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and was the founder of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. In 2001, he received the first George Bush Corporate Leadership Award by the Points of Light Foundation for his role in supporting employee volunteerism and corporate citizenship.
Cook's wife Carole, with whom he shared the dedication of the hotel and conference center, died in 2010.
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