2021 Commencement Speaker Announced: Chris Yeh ('96)

April 21, 2021


Cal Poly Pomona is celebrating the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 with drive-in commencement ceremonies. The university will hold 20 in-person, drive-in ceremonies from May 20 to 23 at the Fairplex in Pomona. 
The Collins College's drive-in Commencement ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021 will take place Friday, May 21 at 8:00 pm PDT. This year's Commencement speaker will be 1996 alumnus Chris Yeh with Darden Restaurants. 

Chris YehAbout Chris Yeh

One of eight restaurant brands under parent company Darden Restaurants, Yard House is the largest full-service restaurant company in the world. Today, 1996 alumnus Chris Yeh is responsible for an enterprise leading $72 million in annual revenue while directly overseeing 60+ restaurant managers and 1,100+ hourly team members working for Darden Restaurants as the Director of Operations for Yard House.

Yeh’s passion for hospitality began with his first busboy job at 15 years old. He later became a server for Marie Callender’s while attending Cal Poly Pomona and was the first student to complete the Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery internship program. After graduating from the university and continuing with the business, the alumnus was promoted to general manager at age 23 making history as the youngest general manager of the restaurant company. Three years later, Yeh was named General Manager of the Year for his impressive results and his team’s uncompromising ideology — to treat their guests as if they were coming into their own homes. The alumnus continued with Marie Callender’s for 16 years in various roles concluding his tenure as senior director of operations.

Always eager to tackle new opportunities, Yeh also worked side by-side with Wolfgang Puck and Joe Essa, the former chairman of the National Restaurant Association and current CEO of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, to develop the Wolfgang Puck Bistro concept.

In 2012, the alumnus joined Yard House as the general manager of the downtown San Diego location. He quickly promoted to the role of director of operations, which he has held for the last eight years.