Gianfortes to Speak at Montana Tech Commencement Ceremony
Greg and Susan Gianforte, the co-founders and trustees for the Gianforte Family Foundation, will be the commencement speakers at Montana Tech’s 2014 ceremony. Montana Tech is expected to graduate approximately 530 students at this year’s ceremony, which will take place on May 17, 2014.
“I am thrilled the Gianfortes will be speaking to our graduates and guests at this year’s ceremony,” announced Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter. “Greg and Susan are a great example of passionate individuals and entrepreneurs who have had much success and have given back in so many ways. Their messages will resonate well with our students who will be leaving Montana Tech to make their mark out in the world. We are honored they will be a part of our event.”
"We are thrilled to be included in the graduation celebration at Montana Tech this year,” noted Greg Gianforte. “Education is critical to the success of our young people and an engineering degree uniquely prepares students to be real-world problem solvers and entrepreneurs. With the increasing complexity of our world, an engineering degree is the liberal arts degree of the future."
Greg Gianforte’s stewardship passions include K-12 education reform and classical Christian education. He serves on the Milton Friedman Foundation national board, the ACE Scholarships national board, and the Association of Classical Christian Schools national board, and has been Chairman of the Petra Academy board in Bozeman since 2003. Greg is an electrical engineer and computer scientist by trade. He has started five software companies, including RightNow Technologies, which grew to more than 1,100 employees. RightNow was one of Montana's largest employers and the only publicly traded technology firm in the state before being sold to Oracle in 2012.
"I am honored to encourage the Montana Tech women engineers and all the graduates in their future careers,” added Susan Gianforte.
Susan grew up in Queens, New York City and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University’s College of Engineering. She then earned her MS in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley, followed by an MBA from NYU, while working for Bell Laboratories, AT&T. She next worked with the KPMG Nolan Norton & Co. strategic technology consulting practice, transitioning to part time after her first two children were born. She resigned from KPMG/NNC as a senior manager after her third child was born and started helping Greg in his new entrepreneurial efforts following the sale of his first start-up, Brightwork. Greg and Susan moved their family to Bozeman, Montana in 1995 and had their fourth child. After running operations in a number of Greg's smaller startups, she was controller for the first two years of RightNow Technologies. Currently, Susan manages the finances of their family foundation and other family entities, in addition to sitting on a number of non-profit boards, including chairing the Montana Family Foundation, a Family Policy Council affiliate of Focus on the Family.
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