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Doug Burgum named 37th Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recipient

Doug Burgum

FARGO -- Entrepreneur and philanthropist Doug Burgum has been named North Dakota's 37th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.

The award was presented Friday by Gov. John Hoeven on the Microsoft campus in Fargo.

"Doug Burgum is a state leader who has gained national recognition for his visionary business leadership, entrepreneurism and philanthropy," Hoeven said. "His vision and innovative spirit have contributed to the growth and success of Great Plains Software and Microsoft Fargo, as well as the redevelopment of downtown Fargo and the expansion of North Dakota State University. Throughout his career, Doug has made significant contributions to North Dakota's economy and has helped foster a strong entrepreneurial climate for the state."

Burgum is a native of Arthur, N.D. He earned a bachelor's degree of university studies from NDSU and then earned a master's in business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After working as a consultant at McKinsey and Co., he returned to North Dakota in 1983 and joined Great Plains Software, then a small startup computer software firm, as vice president of marketing and as the first outside investor.

He led the firm's growth to a successful initial public offering in 1997 and its purchase by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. He remained a Microsoft senior vice president until 2007, helping Microsoft capture a leading position in the business applications industry.

In 1996, Burgum founded the Kilbourne Group, a company committed to supporting the redevelopment of downtown Fargo.

Burgum is co-founder and chairman of the Arthur Ventures Growth Fund, a region venture capital fund.

The award recognizes present or former North Dakotans who have been influenced by this state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.

Recipients are chosen by the governor, with the concurrence of Secretary of State Alvin A. Jaeger and Director of the State Historical Society Merlan E. Paaverud Jr.

As of July 2008, 36 North Dakotans have received the award. Their portraits are on display in the lower level of the capitol building, including the latest recipient, Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble.

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States.

Schmidt writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.