Monfort Family Continues Legacy of Giving with $3.1 Million Gift for Colorado State University Excellence Fund

Colorado State University today announced a $3.1 million gift from the Monfort Family Foundation to extend its renowned Monfort Excellence Fund. The fund, which began in 1999 and will continue until 2014, provides money for Monfort Scholars, Monfort Professors, Monfort Professors-in-Residence and the Monfort Lecture Series.

The Monfort Excellence Fund has had a tremendous impact on Colorado State University students, faculty and the Northern Colorado community through its scholarships for exceptional students, its support of outstanding faculty and its public lectures delivered by international leaders.

"Members of the Monfort family have built an extraordinary legacy in Colorado through their business successes and through their decades of service to the state and its people," said President Larry Edward Penley. "They have been strong advocates for higher education, and their pride in Colorado State University is reflected in their longstanding support of the Morgan Library, the University Center for the Arts, the prestigious Monfort Scholarships and many other initiatives. This generous gift to continue the Monfort Excellence Fund is the latest testament to their belief in the importance of education – and their willingness to invest in future generations of Colorado leaders and professionals. We are grateful to the entire Monfort family for their continued support."

"The Monfort Family has been supporting Colorado State University students for a number of years," said Dick Monfort, trustee and treasurer of the Monfort Family Foundation. "We want to support bright kids who would not have been able to take advantage of a college education without these scholarships. It’s all about giving kids an education.

"The rest of the Monfort Excellence Fund, the Monfort Professors, Monfort Professors-in-Residence and the Monfort Lecture Series broadens and deepens their educational experience by providing the best professors, leaders in industry and national and international figures to speak on world events."

Joyce Berry, vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives at Colorado State, said the gift demonstrates the Monforts’ commitment to improving the quality of life for many Coloradans. "The Monfort Family Foundation and members of the Monfort family have again shown their remarkable dedication to Colorado State University and the entire Northern Colorado community with this very special gift," Berry said. "The increase in scholarship gifts, in particular, demonstrates the Monforts’ commitment to Colorado students and their academic and lifelong successes."  

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 are some of Colorado State’s pre-eminent scholarship recipients, and 20 students per year benefit from these prestigious scholarships and awards. Scholarship graduates have put their skills to work and are counted among leaders in the local, national and global communities. Scholarship recipients receive full tuition and fees, a room-and-board stipend and a book allowance for four years. Selection of scholars is based on superior scholastic ability, leadership, service to community and school and outstanding character.  

The gift also provides funding to the Monfort Professors program, one of the university’s top honors, established through an original gift from the Monfort Family Foundation in 2002 to help recruit and retain top-quality faculty. Selection of the Monfort Professors comes from an in-depth selection process that includes nominations from all eight colleges at Colorado State. Monfort Professors include Randy Bartels, Department of Electrical Engineering; David Thompson, Department of Atmospheric Science; N. LeRoy Poff, Department of Biology; Tomislav Rovis, Department of Chemistry; Karolin Luger, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Ranil Wickramasinghe, Department of Chemical Engineering; John Belisle, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology; Kathleen Pickering, Department of Anthropology; A. Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Science; and Yian Shi, Department of Chemistry.

The Monfort-Professor-in Residence program brings accomplished leaders from business, government and the arts to campus to interact with students and enrich their learning experiences. Some of the leaders who have visited the Colorado State campus as part of the program include Barbara Barrett, business and aviation attorney, owner and president of Triple Creek Guest Ranch, and member of several corporate and public policy boards; Sylvia Earle, marine biologist and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society; Carl Williams, civil rights attorney; Robert Fornaro, president, AirTran Airways; and Kent Rominger, former NASA space shuttle commander and vice president of Advanced Programs, ATK Launch Systems.

The gift also will provide funding for the Monfort Lecture Series for three years. The series provides students, faculty and community members the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most powerful, engaging and influential leaders. Previous speakers brought to Colorado State by the Monfort Lecture Series include United Nations Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall; Ernesto Zedillo, president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000; Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet leader; Madeleine Albright, first female United States secretary of state; Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu; and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.