Designed for greatness: Richardsons’ gift a game-changer

Curt and Nancy Richardson

Thanks to a landmark gift from Nancy and Curt Richardson, Colorado State University soon will have an iconic design center that will showcase and elevate several of its signature academic programs.

The Richardsons, who are co-founders of OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, are passionate about inspiring the next generation of students and professionals as they prepare to become innovative and creative thought leaders.

The Richardson Design Center will provide a new state-of-the-art creative space for students and faculty in programs across campus, including interior design, design and merchandising, landscape architecture, art, engineering, product development, entrepreneurship, construction management and others. The Richardsons have pledged $8.1 million to create the design center, which is scheduled to open in January 2019.

“The Richardson Design Center will position Colorado State University to become an innovative national hub for design-thinking and entrepreneurship,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “Integrating with our exceptional academic programs in design, engineering, business and the arts, it will be a magnet for creativity, where talented students, faculty and industry leaders gather to learn, discover and design together.”

Alumna giving back

Nancy Richardson graduated from CSU in 1982 with a degree in interior design, and has long been a passionate supporter of her alma mater and the design program. She has been a design adviser for numerous buildings, including the OtterBox campus development and many other projects for related companies.

“Design touches everybody, whether they recognize it or not,” Nancy Richardson said when describing her desire to support the project. “In our journey as entrepreneurs, Curt and I experienced first-hand the tangible benefits of multidisciplinary project management, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to encourage that same approach in design education.”

The 40,000-square-foot building will be constructed in the south-central campus corridor, on Lake Street east of the new on-campus stadium. It is expected to shine a light on several of CSU’s top undergraduate programs. It will house design studios, fabrication/prototype/ideation labs, presentation spaces, classrooms and computer labs.

state.your.purpose“Thank you to Nancy and Curt Richardson. Their gift provides immeasurable opportunities to advance multidisciplinary design thinking for our students at CSU,” said Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “The Richardson Design Center will create opportunities for students from multiple disciplines to create, innovate and collaborate in an open and immersive design community. We are now engaging in curricular planning to create these new opportunities for students in design-related fields of study.”

Lofty goals

The center will create space to grow CSU’s design-related fields of study, with anticipated new courses and possibilities for a minor in design. The goal is to make CSU one of the top 10 schools in the country for design.

“Design has provided wonderful inspirations and long-term impacts in my life, and both Curt and I want to help inspire the next generation of professionals,” Nancy Richardson said.

Added Curt Richardson: “Design is Nancy’s passion, and it has positively impacted so many of our businesses. I love being able to support her and this project by providing a lasting benefit for the university and our community.”

Total cost of the design center will be $16.5 million. CSU will continue to fundraise for the project and is offering companies and individuals passionate about design the opportunity to name interior spaces.

“Nancy and Curt have always had a vision for their work, this community and Colorado State University. This generous gift is no different,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for university advancement. “The Richardson Design Center will elevate what we do here at CSU in so many different programs, to incredible new heights. We can’t thank them enough for this impactful gift.”

For more information on the Richardson Design Center and to see a video fly through of the new facility, click here.

design_otterAbout OtterBox:

OtterBox boldly innovates and designs premium protective cases for smartphones and tablets. From its humble beginnings in a Fort Collins, Colo., garage, OtterBox has evolved its product lines to meet the needs of today’s mobile consumer to become the No. 1 selling smartphone case in the U.S. From rugged to versatile to fashionable, OtterBox has a product for every lifestyle.

At the center of every OtterBox innovation is a deeper goal to effect positive, lasting change. In partnership with the OtterCares Foundation, OtterBox grows to give back by inspiring kids to change the world through entrepreneurship and philanthropy. To learn more about this mission, visit


design_oceanAbout Blue Ocean:

Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., Blue Ocean was founded by entrepreneur Curt Richardson and his wife, Nancy Richardson, to support emerging businesses, create jobs, and make a positive and lasting impact throughout the communities they cherish.

Blue Ocean carries out the Richardsons’ vision and its “We Grow to Give” mission through real estate and business investments that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, lead local revitalization and strengthen communities.

For more information visit