To honor the legacy of David M. Lilly, The Toro Company’s fourth president and former dean of what now is the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and in recognition of the company’s long-standing partnership with the University of Minnesota, Toro announced on May 27 the establishment of The Toro Company-David M. Lilly Faculty Chair. At an event held at the company’s headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., Toro also made the official dedication of the David M. Lilly Learning Center in further recognizing Lilly’s leadership and lifelong passion for learning.
Joining Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer, as he reflected on Lilly’s role in helping shape the company’s success and his contributions to the greater Twin Cities community was Lilly’s immediate family – along with Eric W. Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota; Sri Zaheer, dean of the Carlson School; and other local dignitaries.
“David was a true visionary and legendary leader that literally transformed our company and the industries we serve,” said Hoffman. “He exemplified our culture through the personal value he placed on others, and his relentless commitment to research and innovation. Beyond Toro, he gave tirelessly of his time and efforts to the academic community, along with countless civic and philanthropic causes. Through the establishment of this chair, and dedication of the David M. Lilly Learning Center, we want to recognize David’s tremendous contributions to all of those he influenced and continue his legacy for years to come.”
The endowed chair is established through a $2-million grant from The Toro Company and Melrose/Toro Community Fund. The grant will go to assisting the University of Minnesota in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty members in the Carlson School, and help further support advancements in teaching, research and service.
“David was a man who provided positive energy wherever he went,” said President Kaler. “The University of Minnesota benefitted greatly from his time, experience and leadership. And, while Minnesota has lost a titan, his legacy lives on and will continue to have an impact on others.”
“While more than 30 years ago, David’s role as dean of the Carlson School is still felt today,” said Zaheer. “Among his many contributions, David helped create close partnerships with the Twin Cities corporate community, a seminal development that continues to serve as the foundation of the school’s success and global reach.”
Serving as Toro’s president for nearly two decades (1950-1968), Lilly also held the position as Toro’s chairman until 1976 when he went to Washington D.C. to serve as governor of the Federal Reserve Board.
At the end of his term, he returned to the Twin Cities and became dean of what now is the Carlson School before later being appointed as the university’s vice president for finance and operations.
Toro’s relationship with the University of Minnesota dates back to 1930 when, at the university’s request, Toro built a power roller for their tennis courts. Since then, Toro has continued its long-standing partnership with the University of Minnesota, collaborating on research in areas such as turfgrass and water-use efficiency, supporting graduate students, donating equipment to the turf management program, and engaging in advisory boards, among other efforts.