BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Toro Company (TTC), in partnership with retired TTC chairman and CEO Mike Hoffman and his wife, Tami, today announced a $3 million gift to the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in honor of the late Kendrick B. Melrose, who passed away in May of this year and would have celebrated his 80th birthday today.
Melrose, who preceded Hoffman as TTC’s chairman and CEO, successfully led the company for nearly 25 years until retiring in 2006. This gift will establish the Melrose & The Toro Company Center for Principled Leadership at the Opus College of Business and includes a $2 million donation by The Toro Foundation, along with a $1 million donation from the Hoffmans. These commitments were established in February 2020, and will be funded over a four-year period.
The new Center is being created to foster professional engagement on principled leadership, and public dialogue on racial equality to help further understanding and drive needed change in our communities. As Stefanie Lenway, Ph.D., Dean of the Opus School of Business, explained, “This generous gift will honor and celebrate Ken Melrose as a principled leader who promoted the values, practice and impact of servant leadership.” This cause was important to Melrose, who championed the concept through Leading by Serving, LLC, an organization he founded in 2006.
“Ken Melrose was an extraordinary person and a very important figure in our company’s history,” said Richard Olson, current chairman and CEO of The Toro Company. “His principled leadership, during extremely challenging times, inspired employees to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and put The Toro Company back on a winning path. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic and the need to advance equality and inclusiveness for all, it is critical that we come together to build community and inspire change. We are pleased to partner with the University of St. Thomas, along with Mike and Tami, to honor Ken’s exceptional legacy in this meaningful way.”
Mike Hoffman added, “Ken was an authentic servant leader who didn’t just talk the talk, but personified the concept through his highly principled approach to business and day-to-day life. He was highly intelligent and goal-driven, but Ken’s humility, grace and concern for people placed him in a rarified class.”
The Opus College of Business envisions the Center as a means of advancing Melrose’s mission and honoring his legacy of servant leadership. It is envisioned that the Center will gain national recognition as a research hub and thought leader in servant leadership and social justice.
About The Toro Company
The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf and landscape maintenance, snow and ice management, underground utility construction, rental and specialty construction, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of $3.1 billion in fiscal 2019, The Toro Company’s global presence extends to more than 125 countries through a family of brands that includes Toro, Ditch Witch, Exmark, BOSS Snowplow, Ventrac, American Augers, Subsite Electronics, HammerHead, Trencor, Unique Lighting Systems, Irritrol, Hayter, Pope, Lawn-Boy and Radius HDD. Through constant innovation and caring relationships built on trust and integrity, The Toro Company and its family of brands have built a legacy of excellence by helping customers care for golf courses, sports fields, construction sites, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties and agricultural operations. For more information, visit www.thetorocompany.com.