The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) will honor five restaurant and foodservice industry leaders during the 22nd annual Salute to Excellence fund-raising event on May 16, during the NRA Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show.

The 2009 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality is Robert E. Rich, Jr., chairman of Rich Products Corp. The annual Ambassador of Hospitality award goes to an individual each year who belongs to NRAEF’s College of Diplomates and who is recognized as an outstanding leader in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

The 2009 Michael E. Hurst Lifetime of Achievement in Education Award goes to Donald I. Smith, Westin distinguished professor at Washington State University. NRAEF awards the Michael E. Hurst Lifetime of Achievement in Education Award to an outstanding educator who has made a significant contribution to restaurant and foodservice education.

The 2009 College of Diplomates inductees are: Bert Cutino, chief operating officer of the Sardine Factory; Julie Flik, consultant for Compass Group North America; and Jon L. Luther, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands. College of Diplomates consists of educators, journalists, restaurant association executives, authors, chefs and TV personalities who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement and enhancement of the image of the restaurant and foodservice industry.

For more information, visit The 90th annual NRA Hotel-Motel Show will be held May 16 to 19 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information, visit