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May 10, 2012
Colorado State University will confer an honorary doctoral degree on Richard "Dick" Monfort at the Graduate School commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Moby Arena.
CSU President Tony Frank will award the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Dick Monfort in recognition of his significant contributions to Colorado, industry, and higher education. A Colorado native, Monfort is owner/chairman and chief executive officer for the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball Club and is now in his 15th season with the franchise.
“Dick Monfort is a committed business and civic leader and a true champion for higher education in Northern Colorado," Frank said. "He and his family have created opportunities for numerous students here at Colorado State University and have launched a number of programs that enrich both the campus and Fort Collins communities. He is truly deserving of this honor, and I thank him and the Monfort Family Foundation for their continued support of Colorado State and higher education in Northern Colorado.”
Monfort spent 25 years in the cattle business, serving as president of Monfort of Colorado and ConAgra Red Meats Co. for eight years. He became president of Monfort of Colorado Inc. in 1987 and joined ConAgra Red Meats in 1991 as the president and CEO. He retired from ConAgra in 1995.
He helped launch the Montera Cattle Co. in 1996 and currently owns the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Palm Springs, Calif., and the Hilltop Steak House in Boston. In January of this year, Monfort and his brother, Charlie, headed an investment group that purchased the Casper Ghosts, a Rockies affiliate in the Pioneer League now located in Grand Junction.
Monfort also serves as director and vice chairman of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club Foundation, which targets the needs of underprivileged and at-risk youth through various means of support. He has volunteered his time to play a leadership role on numerous public and philanthropic boards, including serving as chairman of the Colorado Economic Development Commission, chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees, and as a charter member of the Colorado State University President's Club.
Over the years, Monfort has spearheaded many programs including a project that provided financial assistance to families of the Colorado National Guard and military reservists from Colorado stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait; sponsorship of the Joining Forces program, a national initiative supporting our military and their families with opportunities and support; and ongoing funding and endorsement for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Metro Denver and Weld County.
The Monfort family is one of the most well-known in Colorado for leadership in the agricultural industry; for committed support of higher education at CSU, Aims Community College, and University of Northern Colorado; and for significant support of community programs such as United Way, Boy Scouts of America, construction of a hospital, and the Denver Zoo.
Monfort and his family have established several endowments at CSU that have had significant impact in advancing the educational efforts of the institution. Through the generous contributions of the Monfort family, the Monfort Scholars, Monfort Professors, Monfort Professors-in-Residence and the Monfort Lecture Series have been established. These programs help CSU attract and retain outstanding students and faculty, host highly recognized global leaders such as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev, and host leaders in business and government such as Carol Channing and Lester Brown.
Monfort is the 2008 recipient of the United Way of Weld County Humanitarian of the Year Award, an award his father, Kenny Monfort, received 20 years earlier.
His daughter and son have both graduated from CSU, continuing the family’s longstanding ties to the university.