Rough Rider



BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven today presented the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award to entrepreneur and philanthropist Doug Burgum at a ceremony in his honor at Microsoft Fargo. Joined by family, friends and community and business leaders, Hoeven unveiled a portrait of Burgum that will hang in the state Capitol building in Bismarck, along with the portraits of other notable North Dakotans.

“Doug Burgum is a state leader who has gained national recognition for his visionary business leadership, entrepreneurism and philanthropy,” said Hoeven. “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 our state.”

A native of Arthur, Burgum first earned a Bachelor of University Studies from North Dakota State University, and then went on to achieve an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. After building national experience as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, he returned to North Dakota in 1983 and joined Great Plains Software – then a very small startup company in the fledgling computer-software industry – as vice president of marketing and first external investor. 

He led the company’s growth to a very successful initial public offering in 1997 and through its acquisition by Microsoft Corporation in 2001 for $1.1 billion – at the time, the largest stock purchase that Microsoft had ever made. He remained at Microsoft as senior vice president through 2007, helping the company capture a leading position in the business applications industry.

In 1996, Burgum founded the Kilbourne Group, a company committed to inspiring and supporting the redevelopment of downtown Fargo, carrying forward a respect for history through the restoration of historic buildings and the creation of new buildings that honor the past and inspire the future.

Burgum is co-founder and chairman of the Arthur Ventures Growth Fund, a regional venture capital fund that seeks to identify and invest in businesses with potential for strong growth. He also serves as a member of the advisory council for the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is on the board of directors of Arthur Companies Inc., Success Factors, Inc., and Intelligent InSites Inc. He has contributed to numerous philanthropic efforts, including establishing the Doug Burgum Family Fund, which focuses its charitable giving on youth and education. 

“The success of businesses under Doug’s leadership has been a catalyst for the establishment and growth of companies and educational opportunities in Fargo and across North Dakota, especially in the technology-development sector,” said Hoeven. “He is a source of pride for North Dakota, bringing credit and honor to the citizens of this great state.”

An honorary rank of Colonel in the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.