BOB EVERITT: LOCAL VISIONARY

BOB EVERITT: LOCAL VISIONARY

by Tony Phifer

IF THERE were a Mount Rushmore for Fort Collins — a monument to honor the most influential community leaders since the city’s founding — Bob Everitt surely would be there, front and center.

Of all the people who have helped Fort Collins and Colorado State University reach the lofty heights they have achieved over the past century, Bob Everitt – with his beloved wife, Joyce, at his side — would be among the most influential in terms of his vision, leadership, integrity, financial support and philanthropic commitment to dozens of causes.

Bob, 87, died Feb. 12; a memorial was held in the Lory Student Center on Feb. 23.

“Bob Everitt was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration for all of the CSU presidents who were fortunate to know him,” CSU President and Chancellor Tony Frank said. “He was so humble, but he accomplished more than most of us do in a lifetime, guided by a generous spirit and strategic sense of what makes a community great. He embodied the ideal that a successful and thriving business invests in and commits to the town and people who support it — and he led the community to invest in the arts, culture, education, museums, libraries, high-quality neighborhoods, and so much more.”

Everitt leaves behind a city and a university that are vastly different — and infinitely better — than when he and Joyce first arrived from Oklahoma in 1953. Then, it was a town of 16,000 people, and the university was home to only a few thousand students.

INFLUENCE ACROSS THE CITY

Bob’s influence on Fort Collins stretches across the city. He built the Foothills Fashion Mall in the 1970s, and Everitt Companies helped bring back the mall in its new form some 40 years later. He created numerous housing developments that are now some of the most familiar and beloved neighborhoods in Fort Collins. And his commitment to his adopted hometown helped lead to the establishment of the Lincoln Center, Poudre Valley Hospital, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, and other iconic Fort Collins civic establishments.

He started the Everitt Lumber Co. when he was 24 years old and fresh from service in the Korean War. He chose a Fort Collins site over one in Oklahoma, and immediately upon their arrival, he and Joyce began putting down roots. Over time, his reputation as a businessman and community leader was equaled by his generosity.

CHAMPION OF CSU

But nowhere was their influence more apparent than at CSU. After being introduced to then CSU President William Morgan and his wife, Lilla, Bob and Joyce became champions of all things CSU, from the College of Business to the library, from the Equine Sciences program to Ram athletics.

CSU bestowed numerous honors on the Everitts for their remarkable dedication to the University. Through it all they remained incredibly humble – thankful to CSU and the city for allowing them to be of service.

BOB EVERITT AND CSU

  • Served on the Board of Governors, which oversees CSU and the CSU System
  • Established the renowned Everitt Real Estate Center in the College of Business
  • Established the Summit Investment Fund, which gives CSU students the unique opportunity to manage their own real investment portfolio
  • Member of the Campaign Leadership Council that helped steer CSU’s first comprehensive campaign, which was successfully completed in 2012
  • Served on the board of directors for the CSU Foundation

‘LIVES WE CAN MAKE BETTER’

When Bob and Joyce received the Founders Day medal in 2015, Everitt thanked his company employees and family, and said, “Joyce and I believe in giving money and talent to the people whose lives we can make better. Because of what we give, and when we do that, our lives are fulfilled and meaningful.”

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