Richard L. Knowlton
The Office of the President at Riverland Community College indicated that this year’s honorary degree recipient is Richard L. Knowlton. The college awarded an Honorary Doctor of Education degree because of Mr. Knowlton’s work nationally and locally to help people, especially traditionally under-represented students, obtain the education and/or training that will lead to living wage employment. Mr. Knowlton received his award at Riverland’s May 13, 2011 commencement ceremony.
Few people honored by Riverland Community College have the level of achievement as this nominee. Mr. Knowlton served as President and CEO of Hormel Foods Inc. and chair of the board of directors from 1981 to 1995.
Mr. Knowlton currently serves as Chair of The Hormel Foundation, director of the Horatio Alger Association, is a member of the Business Advisory Council at the University of Colorado Leeds Business School, and serves on the Eisenhower Medical Center Board. He has also served as a director on the Mayo Clinic Advisory Board and on boards of U.S. Bank, ING America Insurance Holdings, Inc., SUPERVALU Inc., and Reliastar. In 1999, The Hormel Foundation donated $5 million to Austin, Minn., to finance affordable housing, public transportation, a cultural center, child care services and a scholarship program for the city’s residents of color.
Mr. Knowlton’s personal philanthropy includes contributing millions of his personal funds for a major renovation of Austin High School, raising millions for the Horatio Alger Association, and distributing millions of dollars of Hormel Foundation funds to worthy projects and organizations in Austin/Mower County. In 2010, he announced a major gift of $1M from the Hormel Foundation for the Cycles for Success scholarship program at Riverland Community College, which is designed to help traditionally underrepresented students obtain a postsecondary education and educate more skilled workers for local employers. Cycles for Success was recently honored for outstanding achievements in educational programs and services during the 2010-2011 academic year.