Colorado State University will confer honorary doctoral degrees on two outstanding civic and business leaders during the spring 2005 commencement ceremonies May 13.
Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley will award the degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Robert S. Everitt and Tom J. Gleason in recognition of their exceptional contributions in industry and community service. Everitt and Gleason will be awarded degrees at Colorado State’s Graduate School commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. in Moby Arena.
"Bob Everitt and Tom Gleason are prominent Northern Colorado business and community leaders. We are honored to recognize both of them for their outstanding contributions in industry and community service and their exceptional support of Colorado State University," Penley said.
Everitt, chairman and chief executive officer of Everitt Enterprises, is one of Fort Collins’ most prominent business and community leaders. In 1953, Everitt moved to Fort Collins to manage a recently-acquired lumberyard. Within two years, the business had expanded into real estate development. The Everitt organization continued to develop with retail stores and commercial and residential developments throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. In 2003, the Everitt Companies celebrated 50 years of outstanding business success in Fort Collins.
"Bob Everitt is an outstanding citizen, one who leads by example, never expecting or seeking personal attribution," said Kathleen Henry, president and CEO of the Colorado State University Foundation. "His character and values set a high standard for others to follow. He is a mentor to hundreds of individuals and students. Bob is truly a civic leader whose quiet but committed works have transformed Northern Colorado."
As a humanitarian, Everitt supports projects that enhance the lives of young people, providing them with educational and enrichment opportunities through organizations such as United Way, Food Bank for Larimer County, Boys and Girls Club and many other causes that support youth.
Everitt also is active in the community as chairman, president or board member of many leadership organizations. He has given generously of his time, talent and financial resources to the Fort Collins community and Colorado State. Some of his many awards and activities include 2005 Charter Member Colorado State University President’s Club; 2004 Colorado Business Hall of Fame Inductee; first inductee, Colorado State University Center for Investment and Real Estate; Colorado State College of Business Global Leadership Council member; former chairman of Fort Collins Inc.; a founding director of the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority; past member of the Governor’s Front Range Planning Task Force; former member of Colorado State Board of Agriculture; former vice chairman of Colorado State’s Development Council; past president of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce; and 1999 Northern Colorado Business Report and the Economic Development Organization Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gleason, chairman of First National Bank in Fort Collins, has invested much time, energy and expertise to enhance Fort Collins and Northern Colorado over the past five decades. He began his career as an installment loan manager of First National Bank in 1956, and he built the small community bank into the largest financial institute in Fort Collins, which has expanded to include a branch in Loveland. Today the bank exceeds $1 billion in assets.
"As a longstanding member of the community, Tom Gleason has made many lasting contributions to Colorado State University, the Fort Collins community and the lives of numerous Colorado State graduates," said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Business at Colorado State. "His commitments and contributions can be seen in the field of education in K-12 and higher education as well as in healthcare and business. Widely considered to be one of the key architects credited with building the Fort Collins community, Tom Gleason is every bit a student, teacher and mentor – a highly accomplished individual most deserving of one of Colorado State’s highest academic recognitions."
Many people in Northern Colorado know Gleason not only as a banker but also as a community leader. He serves as a trustee of the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado Outward Bound and Lincoln Center Board. He has served as the president of the Chamber of Commerce and was a founding board member of Ft. Collins, Inc., which became the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. He is a vigorous volunteer for non-profits, and the Archdiocese of Denver has recognized his support of various Catholic charities. Gleason has led countless fund raising campaigns for many groups including Poudre Valley Hospital, Hospice and St. Joseph’s School.
Gleason was a charter member of the board of directors of the Colorado State University Foundation at its initial organization in 1970. He served on the board of directors for more than 30 years and on the university’s Development Council, providing guidance and leadership which has had profound benefits for Colorado State. He has made a significant impact on the quality of education delivered at the university through his support of many of Colorado State’s programs including athletic programs, the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory within the College of Applied Human Sciences, the university library and by serving on the College of Business’ Global Leadership Council.
Gleason’s commitment to education extends beyond Colorado State through his family foundation, the bank’s foundation and his personal contributions. He helped fund programs that support numerous learning programs within the Poudre School District, and he has been a long-standing supporter of early learning programs which extends to supporting programs in foreign countries.
The honorary degree recipients were recommended by the Colorado State University Honors and Awards Committee through an open nomination process. The recipients were approved by the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System.
This spring’s graduation ceremonies at Colorado State will include 3,447 undergraduates and 804 graduate students. Of these graduate students, 137 are professional veterinary medicine students and 103 are receiving doctoral degrees.
Fifty-two students will graduate summa cum laude, 102 will graduate magna cum laude and 217 will graduate cum laude.