CSU celebrates its 145th birthday on Founders Day

Bob and Joyce Everitt to be honored

2870 Portraits at Coloraodo State UniversityOn Wednesday, Feb. 11, Colorado State University will celebrate  its 145th anniversary with a Founders Day Celebration that will highlight the values that have sustained the university, the people who have shaped it, and its enduring mission of service through teaching, research and engagement as the state’s land-grant institution.

As part of the 145th anniversary celebration, CSU will honor longtime supporters and Fort Collins community leaders  Bob and Joyce Everitt with the prestigious Founders Day Medal, in a public ceremony at the Lory Student Center on campus.

The Everitts have been strong advocates for Colorado State University for more than 60 years, since they first moved to Fort Collins in 1953.

“Together, Bob and Joyce have set an extraordinary example of what it means for business leaders to give back to the community they call home – and it is largely thanks to their example that Fort Collins and CSU are the exceptional places we know today,” Colorado State President Tony Frank said. “Their vision and generosity have had an enormous influence on all aspects of our community, from education and innovation to arts and athletics.  The Founders Day Medal is one small way we can pay tribute to all they have done to support the health and vitality of our campus and community.”

The couple moved to Fort Collins from Enid, Okla., to run a family lumberyard, the original Everitt Lumber Company. They soon branched out into commercial and residential real estate development, and the Everitt Companies led major projects across Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  In Fort Collins, they developed numerous residential neighborhoods and commercial properties, including the Foothills Mall and the Center for Advanced Technology (in partnership with the CSU Research Foundation). The couple also helped spearhead support for public projects including the Lincoln Center, and they were instrumental in the creation of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.

Bob has served on the university’s governing board, the Board of the CSU Foundation, the CSU Development Council, the Campaign Leadership Council, and on advisory councils for the College of Business and the Equine Teaching and Research Center. He was one of the first industry partners of the College of Business, and was instrumental in helping to build the college’s connections with Colorado industry. The Everitts’ commitment to fostering business education through partnerships with businesses resulted in the creation of the Everitt Real Estate Center within the college, as well as the Summit Investment Fund, which provided students hands-on experience managing an investment portfolio.

Joyce has been an advocate for education, children, and the arts and helped establish both the Fort Collins Childrens Theater and the Pi Beta Phi sorority at CSU. She also served for many years on the Lincoln Center Board.

Together, the Everitts have been strong advocates and generous supporters of the Morgan Library, CSU arts programs and facilities, Ram Athletics, the equine program, and more. While neither graduated from CSU, they have been recognized as Honorary Alumni – and Bob received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the university.

“Time and time again, Bob and Joyce Everitt have stepped up to serve in ways that positively impact their community – both in Fort Collins and across Colorado State University. They have been staunch supporters of the progress and innovation that have made CSU one of the nation’s premier research universities, and they’ve embodied the notion that successful individuals and businesses give back to the communities that sustain them,” said Brett Anderson, vice president of University Advancement. “Through their support of the College of Business, Morgan Library, University Center for the Arts, Athletics and countless other programs, they have helped build a great university that contributes to the economy and spirit of this great community. They are true ‘founders’ of this community, and we are so grateful for their partnership and support.”

RSVP for the ceremony

The Founders Day Medallion Ceremony held to honor Bob and Joyce Everitt begins at 4:30 p.m. in LSC Ballrooms C and D. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Registration for the event is encouraged.

Founders Day events

Other events will occur at both the state Capitol in Denver and on campus in Fort Collins.


Beginning at 8 a.m., there will be a legislative reception with CSU System Chancellor Michael Martin, CSU President Tony Frank, CSU Global President Becky Takeda-Tinker, and CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare, in Community Room 0109 of the Capitol.

The 34-member CSU Chamber Choir will perform on the third floor rotunda of the Capitol, as well as in both the House and Senate chambers. Several lawmakers will present a proclamation in honor of CSU Founders Day, which will be read on both the House and Senate floors.

Fort Collins

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are invited to join CAM the Ram and the CSU cheerleaders on the plaza of the main campus for CSU’s birthday celebration. The celebration begins at 1:45 p.m. in honor of the 145 years CSU has been in existence. A photo booth also will be available to commemorate the event.

Past recipients of the Founders Day Medal

Colorado State University has presented the Founders Day Medal annually since 2010:

140th Founders Day: Monfort family

In 2010, the Monfort family was presented with the inaugural CSU Founders Day Medal in honor of their great contributions to the university and their leadership on behalf of CSU and higher education, including Warren Monfort and Kenny Monfort’s service on our governing board. The Monfort Family Foundation in 2002 gave CSU $5 million – at the time, the largest single gift in university history – to support the Monfort Excellence Fund. The Monfort Excellence Fund has had a tremendous impact on CSU and local communities through its scholarships for exceptional students; support of outstanding faculty; by bringing accomplished leaders from business, government and the arts to campus to interact with students; and public lectures delivered by international leaders.

141st: Maurice Albertson

Maury Albertson was the second recipient of the Founders Day Medal, awarded posthumously. Albertson, a Centennial Emeritus Professor, served CSU as the first director of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, director of International Programs, and professor of civil engineering. One of Albertson’s most enduring legacies was his critical role in the formation of the Peace Corps.

142nd: Pat Stryker

Pat Stryker was recognized as the third recipient of the Founders Day Medal for her long-term, transformational support of the university’s academic and athletic programs. Her leadership has been essential to projects including the creation of the Albert C. Yates Chair in Mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences; Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program and the Rockwell Hall expansion in the College of Business; Bohemian Complex at the University Center for the Arts, which encompasses the University Theatre, the Studio Theatre, the Black Box Theater and the William E. Runyan Rehearsal Hall; land-development improvements to the Environment Learning Center for the Warner College of Natural Resources; and support of CSU Athletics, including Ram Legacy Scholarships.

143rd: Bill and Lilla Morgan

Bill and Lilla Morgan were the fourth recipients of the annual Founders Day Medal, also awarded posthumously, with their children accepting the honor on their behalf.

During his two-decade tenure as president of CSU, Bill oversaw a 15-fold expansion of the Fort Collins campus, including athletic facilities, an engineering center, chemistry annex, plant and animal sciences buildings, additions to the student center, faculty apartments, several residence hall and Eddy Hall. Bill also played a key role in obtaining funds for a new library building, named in his honor when it opened in 1965.

Lilla was influential in the Fort Collins community, supporting the fine arts, symphonies and theater performances. Lilla founded the original Fort Collins book club and led the charge to raise funds for the Lincoln Center, now the city’s premier performing arts venue.

144th: Tom and Jean Sutherland

Tom Sutherland, a long-time member of CSU’s faculty, and his wife, Jean, were recognized as the fifth recipients of the Founders Day Medal for their devotion to education and the Fort Collins community. Since the early 1970s, Tom has served as a committee member and board member for numerous entities, including the city’s planning and zoning board, the AMC Cancer Research Center, Larimer County United Way, Colorado Boys Ranch and a chairman of the National Teaching Committee of the American Society of Animal Science.

Jean has served on the Board for the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and has been a strong supporter of key community initiatives, including UniverCity Connections, Homeward 2020, and the Colorado Conservation Exchange. Together, Tom and Jean established the Sutherland Family Foundation, which has supported several Fort Collins nonprofits including the Food Bank for Larimer County, Bas Bleu Theatre, and KUNC radio. They also have contributed to the Colorado Boys Ranch, agricultural scholarships at Colorado State as well as the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, and Crossroads Safehouse.