Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient
College of Liberal Arts, October 26, 2012
T. Denny Sanford earned his degree in psychology from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota in 1958. He worked his way up in business, beginning in sales and marketing and ultimately becoming the owner of First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard, one of the nation's leading credit card providers. Under his leadership, First Premier Bank has expanded from 80 to more than 3,000 employees and from a Sioux Falls bank to a bank with 13 locations in eastern South Dakota and assets of $1.1 billion. He is a leading philanthropist with a focus on medical innovation, improved health care, and children's health. He is the founder of the Sanford Project, which funds efforts in finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. In 2010, Business Week ranked him #17 on its list of "50 Most Generous Philanthropists." He also signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations. At the University, he was instrumental in bringing Gopher football back to campus. TCF Bank Stadium and its accompanying Hall of Fame were supported by a generous donation by Sanford. He is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of South Dakota.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.