Colorado Family Gives Largest Cash Gift to Colorado State University; Total Gifts from Monfort Family Reach $12.5 Million

Colorado State University will create 10 new named professor positions, establish 30 new full-ride scholarships, add a faculty-in-residence program as well as a distinguished speaker series — all named for one of Colorado’s leading families, the Monforts.

The Monfort Family Foundation, through a $5 million gift—the largest cash gift ever announced by Colorado State—creates the series of enhancements to the university’s faculty, students and educational experience over the next decade. The recent gift, which also supports the Monfort Scholars program created in 1999 with a $2.5 million endowment, brings the total donations from the Monfort family and its foundation to Colorado State University to more than $12.5 million.

"What’s significant about this latest gift isn’t just the size and generosity, but how it focuses on the pursuit of excellence in our faculty, students and on the total learning experience at Colorado State," said President Albert C. Yates. "In working with Dick Monfort to develop this proposal, I was impressed with his understanding of the importance of faculty excellence to the institution, and with his emphasis on supporting and fostering a world-class faculty and outstanding student body as the basis for building a great university."

The centerpiece of the foundation’s gift -the Monfort Professors–will help Colorado State recruit and retain top-quality faculty. The creation of the 10, two-year-term positions over the next five years will allow the university to establish a special funding program to support innovative research and teaching. The professor positions will each receive $75,000 a year to support their teaching and research activities in addition to the salary and support they already receive from the university. The Monfort Professors will be selected through a competitive process to be determined by the university provost. (See attached sidebar for more information.)

"By supporting excellence in faculty and student opportunity, our family recognizes the critical role higher education must play in the future of our state," said Dick Monfort, member of the Monfort Family Foundation. "By supporting this initiative, we are dedicating resources to Colorado State’s continued growth as a great university and we are happy that our family has played a part in this growth.

"My grandfather Warren and my father Kenny both served on the university’s governing board and had a unique perspective into the impact faculty can have on young lives," Monfort said. "Through this gift our family continues this commitment and tradition."

The Monfort Scholars program, established by the late Kenny Monfort and his wife Myra in 1999, was created to offer annual full scholarships to Colorado’s top students. Monfort Scholars receive full tuition and fees; a room and board stipend; and a book allowance for four years, if they maintain academic standards. Selection of scholars is based on superior scholastic ability, leadership, service to community and school, and outstanding character. Today’s announced gift will provide $2.25 million to fund the 30 new Monfort Scholars, bringing the total number of Monfort Scholars to 70 students over the next ten years. The new Monfort Scholar slots announced today are targeted for students with demonstrated financial need. (See attached sidebar for more details.)

The new Monfort Professor-in-Residence Program will bring business and community leaders to campus over the next decade to provide leadership enrichment opportunities for high-achieving students. The program is designed to bring accomplished individuals in business, government and the arts to campus from around the world to lead four-week courses for high-achieving students. The program is funded through $262,000 as part of the gift announced today. (See attached sidebar for more details.)

Finally, the gift will provide up to $200,000 annually for guest speakers for a period of five years. The Monfort Lecture Series is expected to feature a distinguished speaker twice per year, and will target people of international distinction. In conjunction with the lectures, the university will create a series of seminars and other activities to engage faculty, students, alumni and community members with the speakers. (See attached sidebar for more details.)

"It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the long-term contributions the Monfort family has made to the quality of life in Colorado and to higher education, particularly as evidenced in their support for Colorado State and the University of Northern Colorado," Yates said. "We are indeed greatly indebted to the Monfort family for their vision, insight, leadership and extraordinary support."