Feb 112010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

At CSU’s 140th birthday celebration Thursday, Adam Martin, a former Monfort scholar, said that to him, college wasn’t about what he learned but about the connections he made with the university.

Standing in the University Club with fellow scholars at the first Founders Day celebration –– also the university’s first birthday party –– Martin said he and the others were never just students here ––“We were CSU in a way,” he said.

After the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps raised the Colorado and United States colors, CSU President Tony Frank commended the contributions of the Monfort family, which span more than half of the university’s lifetime.

Frank presented the family with a medallion of honor that he said was a small token of appreciation in comparison to the time and gifts they’ve given.

The family funds scholarships, research and faculty positions through the Monfort Excellence Fund –– started in 1999 and scheduled to continue through 2014 –– which awarded CSU $3.1 million alone on May 12, 2008.

Myra Monfort, who married the son of an original Monfort founder, accepted the medal on behalf of the family and joked that other CSU donors can “wait (their) turns.”

Awarding students with scholarships is her family’s most important contribution, she said.
“I mean it’s a kick. I once told a group of CSU people it was better than sex,” she said, adding that it’s a “wonderful thing” to help someone fulfill their potential.

The Monforts also made a $5 million donation to help CSU recruit and maintain top-quality faculty. Each year, two Monfort Professors are chosen to receive $150,000 over two years to fund teaching and research activities in addition to their university salaries.

Holmes Rolston, a university distinguished professor who is retired from his position in the Philosophy Department, said CSU has given him the ideal atmosphere to become “The Father of Environmental Ethics” –– a title he is known by.

Rolston said over the next five years, the Monforts will work to endow a chair –– establish a permanent funded position –– for the department in his name.

During her acceptance speech, Myra Monfort told old college stories of her late husband Kenny Monfort, who graduated from CSU and chaired the CSU System Board of Governors, describing him as “mischievous” Sigma Phi Epsilon brother.

When asked what her favorite memory of CSU was, Myra Monfort answered how she thought Kenny Monfort would have.

“Before he died, he said, ‘What I’m most proud of is that I brought Al Yates (a former CSU President) to CSU,’” she said. “ You can’t beat that.”

_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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