President’s Leadership Award
Soon, the Stevens campus will be transformed, thanks to the generosity of Greg and Susan Gianforte.
After moving to Bozeman, Montana, in 1995, the Gianfortes founded RightNow Technologies, a business services software firm. The company went public in 2004, and within a year stocks had risen 130%. Seven years later, with the company employing 1,100, the Gianfortes sold RightNow to Oracle for $1.5 billion.
Since then, the Gianfortes have devoted their time and interests towards philanthropy. Through their family foundation they have supported the arts, education and faith-based initiatives in Bozeman and throughout Montana, the United States and the globe.
The Gianfortes have made the largest combined gift towards a single project in Stevens history. Their $20 million will enable the Gianforte Academic Center, a pair of four-story buildings that will add dozens of smart classrooms, advanced labs, faculty offices and collaborative spaces fit for 21st century teaching, learning and research. Additionally, the Gianfortes have supported scholarships for Stevens students.
Mr. Gianforte traces his connection to Stevens back to his father, Frank ’58. As a student, Mr. Gianforte was a member of Delta Tau Delta, Tau Beta Pi and the Stevens Entrepreneurs Club, played squash, and worked as a resident assistant.
A native of Queens, New York, Mrs. Gianforte graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from New York University. She has worked for Bell Labs, AT&T, and KPMG, a professional services company headquartered in Amsterdam. Currently, she manages the finances of the Gianforte Family Foundation and serves on a number of non-profit boards.
The Gianfortes have promoted employment and entrepreneurship in their adopted home state. They founded CodeMontana, which provides scholarships to high school students to learn computer science. They launched Better Jobs Montana, an initiative to develop and draw high-wage jobs to the state. They have also supported ACE Scholarships Montana for low-income students to attend the school of their choice, and the Gianforte Manufacturing Scholarships, which provide low-income Montanans and veterans with job training.
In 2003, Mr. Gianforte was inducted into the Montana Business Hall of Fame and named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2016, he nearly defeated Montana’s incumbent governor, and he is a candidate in the May 2017 special election for Montana’s at-large congressional seat.
Mr. Gianforte also has an honorary doctorate from Montana State University, where as an alumni parent he supports the Gianforte School of Computing and the Gianforte Auditorium. The Gianfortes have four children. In their spare time, they enjoy Christian worship and the outdoors.