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Bruce Dayton

Bruce Dayton

U honors Bruce Dayton with highest award

Published on April 15, 2005

Bruce Dayton, longtime leader of the Dayton Co. and noted philanthropist, was awarded the University of Minnesota's honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his service to humanity. It was presented to Dayton at an award dinner April 13 at the U's McNamara Alumni Center.

The honorary degree is the highest award conferred by the University. It is presented in recognition of distinctive achievement that has added materially to knowledge and the betterment of society. The University bestows honorary Doctor of Laws degrees to individuals who have made significant contributions through public service, and only 206 honorary degrees of all types have been awarded in the history of the University.

"Bruce Dayton embodies many of the values that are important to the University of Minnesota, and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to recognize him with an honorary degree," said President Robert Bruininks. "He has had an enormous influence on the quality of life in Minnesota and our reputation for ethical businesses practices. He has provided a model for leadership and loyalty to his community that many others have followed for more than six decades."

Dayton is regarded as an influential leader in philanthropy and a model of ethical and community-minded corporate leadership. He helped shape the business and philanthropic spheres in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. During his 33-year association with the Dayton Co., the business grew dramatically and was well known for its corporate responsibility and accountability.

Dayton's stature as a lifelong philanthropist and art lover has rivaled his successful business career. He has been a trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for more than 60 years, beginning in 1942, when he was only 23 years old. Beyond support of the arts, Dayton and his wife, Ruth, have made significant contributions to health care, higher education, and nature conservation. In 1997, the Daytons made the largest and most ecologically significant donation--a gift of land--ever made by a single family to the state.

"It's a great honor to count Bruce Dayton among the University's most visionary and generous friends," said Steven Rosenstone, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "He has unfailingly translated his passion for learning, his love of art and his gift for leadership into support for vitally important programs at the heart of the University of Minnesota."