Contact: Qorvis Communications
Carrie Blewitt (703) 744-7816
Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis,
Jr., Honored by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished
Four Florida High School Scholars also Recognized
during 60th Anniversary Celebration
Washington, DC – (February 27, 2007) – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans announced that Clarence Otis, Jr., chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants, will be presented with the Horatio Alger Award and inducted as a lifetime member of the Association at its 60th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C. in April.
The Association is equally proud to announce four student scholars from Florida will join Otis in Washington this spring and will be honored as Horatio Alger National Scholars. Horatio Alger scholarship recipients are students who have excelled in education and have overcome adversity. This year’s scholarship recipients from Florida include: Channel A. Davis from Miami, Anita M. Helton from Palm Beach Gardens, Chynae L. Raiford from Pompano Beach and Steven T. Weiss from Sunrise.
"The 60th anniversary is a time to reflect on six decades of exceptional American achievements, and we look forward to celebrating the successes of the outstanding individuals who will be inducted as Members, and the National Scholars who represent our nation’s most ambitious youth," said Horatio Alger Association President and CEO and ARAMARK Corporation Chairman and CEO, Joseph Neubauer.
The 60th Annual Horatio Alger Awards events will take place in Washington, D.C. on April 12-14, 2007 to honor and induct the Horatio Alger Award recipients. During the events, the Horatio Alger Award winners will meet with 105 high school seniors from around the nation who were selected to receive Horatio Alger National Scholarships, each valued at $20,000. The total amount of college scholarships awarded is more than $12 million annually – an Association milestone.
The events provide an opportunity for some of the nation’s most impressive and determined young people to learn firsthand about the philosophies and experiences that helped the 2007 Horatio Alger Award recipients surmount significant obstacles to achieve successful lives.
The other new members being inducted in April are Craig R. Barrett, chairman of the board for Intel Corporation; Thomas “Tom” J. Brokaw, former anchor and managing editor of the NBC Nightly News; Jenny and Sid Craig, co-founders of Jenny Craig International; Craig Hall, chairman and founder of Hall Financial Group; Richard M. Rosenberg, chairman and CEO of Bank of America (retired); David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group; Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company; Roger T. Staubach, former Dallas Cowboy and chairman and CEO of The Staubach Company; and Chris Thomas Sullivan, founder and chairman of OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc.
In preparation for the spring awards, Otis recently had a few words of advice for the high school recipients of the Horatio Alger Scholarship. He said: “There are plenty of positive levers out there for you to pull, provided that you keep your eyes open to that and not on the negative side and miss those opportunities. It’s especially important, when people are constantly talking about the odds – all of these negative statistics about who’s not going to make it and why. The fact of the matter is, unless the odds are 100% negative, then somebody’s making it. So there is this opportunity out there, and I think you have to focus on the right side of the probability.”
Clarence Otis, Jr., was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He moved to the Watts area of Los Angeles when he was four years old with his parents and three siblings. Though he grew up in an inner-city neighborhood challenged by crime and under-funded schools, his parents and teachers urged him to develop goals and work hard to achieve them. His parents did not have the opportunity to finish high school, but they were “A” students while in school and didn’t expect anything less from their children.
Otis worked several jobs in high school, including as a youth counselor with the Neighborhood Youth Corps and in restaurants. He matriculated at Williams College with a full scholarship, graduated magna cum laude, and earned a law degree from Stanford Law School.
Otis started his career at two Wall Street law firms before moving into investment banking and rising to Managing Director for Chemical Securities, now JP Morgan Securities. In 1995, he accepted a job as Treasurer with Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill and Seasons 52 restaurants. He was named CEO in 2004 and became Chairman the next year. Darden Restaurants is the largest casual dining restaurant company in the world in sales and market share. The company owns and operates over 1,400 restaurants and employs more than 155,000 people in the U.S. and Canada.
Otis serves on the board of directors of Verizon Communications, Inc., and VF Corp. He is also actively involved in the community, currently serving on the Boards of the Central Florida YMCA and The Preserve Eatonville Community, Inc. (Eatonville, a community in Central Florida, is America’s first incorporated African-American community). He is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, a professional network and forum for Fortune 500 African-American executives, and former Vice Chair of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.
In April 2007, the 60th Annual Horatio Alger Awards events are scheduled in Washington, D.C., to honor and induct the Horatio Alger Award recipients as the newest Members of the Association. During the Awards events, the Horatio Alger Award winners will meet with 106 high school seniors from around the nation who have been selected to receive Horatio Alger National Scholarships, each valued at $20,000. The events provide an opportunity for some of the nation's most impressive and determined young people to learn firsthand about the philosophies and experiences that helped the 2007 Horatio Alger Award recipients surmount significant obstacles to achieve successful lives.
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. Among the Association’s 300 members are well-known Americans including the noted poet Maya Angelou, author and broadcaster Lou Dobbs, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and television personality Oprah Winfrey.
The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program for high school seniors, various state scholarship programs and the Horatio Alger Military Veterans Scholarship Program for U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Award winners receive financial aid counseling and internship placement assistance.
For more information about the scholarships or to find out more about the 2007 Washington events, please call (703) 684-9444 or visit www.horatioalger.org.
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