For his years of generosity for the State of South Dakota and beyond, SME Sioux Falls chose Tuesday to honor a man whose career spans six decades and whose personal donations have touched thousands.
"My motto is aspire to inspire before you expire," T. Denny Sanford said.
The night belonged to Sanford as area sales and executive leaders awarded the businessman and philanthropist with the South Dakota Executive of the Year. That was not all the night had in store for a man who has given so much to the Rushmore State.
"I declare February 25th, 2014 as T. Denny Sanford Day in South Dakota. Congratulations, Denny!" South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard said.
It was a special moment for Daugaard as it was Sanford who made a $2 million donation to the Children's Society of South Dakota back when he was their Development Director.
The Executive of the Year award was an exciting moment for Sanford all on its own, but he also was the recipient of the unofficial Doctorate of Philanthropy, stemming from his lifetime of donations that exceed $850 million.
"As a guy that came up through the sales and marketing world, that was my start, and I hope that will be my finish as well. I love sales and marketing. Thank you so much," Sanford said.
Sanford would not let the night pass without thanking all the people who helped him in his journey and those who helped him in his numerous personal investments.
"I'm the most fortunate guy in the world because every one of these has far exceeded my expectations, every single one of them. So, thank you, all of you, that have shared the considerations with me," Sanford said.
Sanford made it a point to return to Sioux Falls to accept the award and offer his thanks to everyone who helped him along the way.