Fort Collins philanthropist and interior designer receives CHHS Outstanding Alumna Award

October 20, 2014

Nancy Richardson with OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises friends

Fort Collins philanthropist and interior designer Nancy Richardson ('82) is one of three alumni honored with CHHS alumni awards, along with nutrition graduates Ann Diker ('98, '10) and Laura Caulfield ('81).

"I got a well-rounded education that exposed me to unique perspectives and new ways of thinking. It helped me discover my love for design and the process of creating. There are elements of design in everything I do," shares Colorado State University housing and interior environment alumna, Nancy (Davis) Richardson ('82).

Honored at the 2014 Homecoming and Donor Recognition Breakfast, Richardson was one of two recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Award, which honors outstanding alumni from the College who, through their distinguished careers and/or service to the university, state, nation, or world, have brought honor to Colorado State University and to themselves.

Richardson certainly embodies these qualities. She is the co-founder, with her husband Curt Richardson, of Fort Collins-based Blue Ocean Enterprises, Inc. and co-owner of its successful affiliated company, OtterBox. Blue Ocean commits capital to promising businesses, invests in commercial real estate, and supports the local community through its philanthropic organization, The Richardson Foundation. Richardson focused her passion for giving to create OtterCares to engage employees in volunteerism and philanthropy to create a ripple effect in the community.

With many creative philanthropic projects stemming from Richardson's businesses and family foundation, she credits her time at CSU as a major point of inspiration.

"I loved the people and being around a community of creative thinkers who challenged me to think and dream bigger," says Richardson. "I also enjoyed the hands-on projects. When I was in school, we did everything on a drafting board. Many a night were spent with my straight edge, mechanical pencil, rendering markers, x-acto knife, a pot of coffee, and project boards. They were great memories!"

Richardson and Blue Ocean Enterprises designer and CSU alumna, Laura Arledge (interior design, '08), recently came back to the CSU classroom for a special collaboration with interior design students through an OtterBox project. OtterBox presented the class with space parameters and guidelines for a now completed construction project in Fort Collins, which became the new OtterBox headquarters. Students participated in a design charrette activity, in which they worked in groups to quickly brainstorm and design possible interior layouts and space plans for the building. Today, the OtterBox headquarters building is completed. Both Richardson and Arledge spent time presenting to students in interior design about the final award-winning design.

"We are honored that Nancy Richardson maintains her connections to CSU and the interior design program through her time and expertise in speaking with interior design students in numerous courses," said Nancy Miller, head of the Department of Design and Merchandising. "Nancy also supports CSU and the interior design program by mentoring our students as interns and as employees. She exemplifies the qualities of an Outstanding Alumna."

Reflecting on her award and her continued connection to the College of Health and Human Sciences, Richardson shares, "I am very honored to receive this award and to be recognized by the college that gave me wings. I applaud CHHS for its dedication to helping students discover and pursue their passions. It is a privilege to be part of this amazing community. It inspires me and hopefully others, to make a greater positive impact in those around them. CSU equipped me with many of the tools and skills I use today. I enjoy being connected with my alma mater and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to support future generations of talented designers."

Contact:  Kim Winger

Telephone:  (970) 491-2797