Toro cements David M. Lilly legacy

David Lilly demonstrating Toro's Power Handle in 1950.

David M. Lilly, the fourth president of The Toro Company and the former Dean of what is now the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, has been honored by both establishments.

Toro established The Toro Company-David M. Lilly Faculty Chair at the University, as well as dedicated the David M. Lilly Learning Center, in honor of his legacy.

Toro chairman and CEO Michael Hoffman was present at the company's headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota at the official dedication. Also in attendance were Lilly's immediate family, U of M president Eric Kaler, Dean of the Carlson School Sri Zaheer, and other local dignitaries.

“David was a true visionary and legendary leader that literally transformed our company and the industries we serve,” said Hoffman. “He exemplified our culture through the personal value he placed on others, and his relentless commitment to research and innovation. Beyond Toro, he gave tirelessly of his time and efforts to the academic community, along with countless civic and philanthropic causes. Through the establishment of this chair, and dedication of the David M. Lilly Learning Center, we want to recognize David’s tremendous contributions to all of those he influenced and continue his legacy for years to come.”

The endowed chair will be funded by a grant of $2 million from The Toro Company and Melrose/Toro Community Fund, which will help assist the University's effort to recruit and retain faculty.

“David was a man who provided positive energy wherever he went,” said President Kaler. “The University of Minnesota benefitted greatly from his time, experience and leadership. And, while Minnesota has lost a titan, his legacy lives on and will continue to have an impact on others.”

Lilly was president at Toro between 1950 and 1968. He was also chairman until 1976.

“While more than 30 years ago, David’s role as Dean of the Carlson School is still felt today,” said Zaheer. “Among his many contributions, David helped create close partnerships with the Twin Cities corporate community, a seminal development that continues to serve as the foundation of the school’s success and global reach.”

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