Remembering Tom Lillibridge
Members of the University of Sioux Falls community mourn the loss of Tom Lillibridge, who graduated from USF in 1967 and served as a USF Board of Trustees member for many years, most recently serving as board chairman. A visionary leader, Lillibridge founded USF’s Tom and Cindy Lillibridge Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation and co-chaired The Greatest Gift Campaign, the largest capital campaign in USF’s history.
“There are four words that come to mind when I think about Tom Lillibridge: legacy, leadership, influence and investment,” said Jon Hiatt, Vice President for Principal Gifts and University Relations. “Tom was born in South Dakota, educated in South Dakota, worked and served in South Dakota and was a passionate advocate for the state of South Dakota and the University of Sioux Falls.”
Tom joined the USF Board of Trustees in 1998. He and his brother John have completed nearly 50 years of combined service on the Board of Trustees and the USF Foundation Board. One of Tom’s most noteworthy contributions to the University include his involvement in The Greatest Gift Campaign which raised over $31,000,000. In addition, Tom served as the Chairman of the USF Foundation Board from 2008-2011 both giving and encouraging others to support student scholarship endowments.
However, Tom’s influence and investment at the University of Sioux Falls and in the state of South Dakota took a giant leap forward when he and his wife Cindy established the Tom and Cindy Lillibridge Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation in 2005.
“Tom knew that half to two-thirds of the USF student body were South Dakota residents and that many of these students came from rural communities outside of Sioux Falls and Rapid City,” Hiatt said. “Out of his care and love for both his alma mater and his home state, Tom believed that giving students the opportunity for their ‘American Dream’ would not only pay dividends for the successful graduate but also would provide jobs for fellow South Dakotans as graduates from the Center would start their own businesses and organizations in their home state.”
Tom’s family legacy and leadership run deep with the University of Sioux Falls. His grandfather’s sister, Eva Lillibridge, graduated from then Sioux Falls University in 1893, just ten years after the institution was founded. This began the Lillibridge family legacy that continued with Tom's father Louis’ leadership by serving on the college’s Board of Trustees.
Following graduation from USF, Tom returned to his hometown of Burke, South Dakota, and went into the banking business with his father and brother, John. In 1972 he became the manager of the Bonesteel Branch where he served until 1977. At that time Tom moved back to the home office in Burke. He was elected President of First Fidelity Bank in 1982 and held that office until January of 2001 when he was elected co-chairman, a position that he held until his death.
Tom and his wife Cindy have lived in Bonesteel since they were married in 1974. They have traveled extensively around the world including seventeen hunting safaris in various African countries and additional safaris in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Spain, Argentina, Scotland, England, Sweden and Mexico, and hunting trips in several Canadian Provinces and many states in the U.S. Having earned the Safari Club International's Crowning Achievement Award placed Tom among the elite big game hunters in the world.
To read more about Tom’s life and legacy at USF and in the state of South Dakota, click here.