Former UNC president, Colorado legislator dies at 95 

No matter the role, Richard “Dick” Bond acted as the driving force for educational efforts in Greeley for more than 50 years.

Bond’s advancement of education through programs and initiatives continues to impact the lives of hundreds of students nationwide.

Bond, who was born and raised in Salem, West Virginia, died at the age of 95 on Oct. 26 at The Bridge at Greeley, according to his obituary.

Bond served as president of three colleges across Colorado: the University of Northern Colorado, Front Range Community College and Morgan Community College.

During his 10 years of service at UNC, starting in 1971, Bond worked to create “an innovative, student-oriented and accessible institution,” according to a UNC article. He ensured UNC was a teaching university with students as the primary focus, worked to create a liberal arts community atmosphere and focused on increasing diversity and opportunities for all students, his obituary said.

More than 30 years ago, Bond co-founded The Greeley Dream Team, which encourages high school students to stay in school and plan for college. Thanks to his vision, the organization serves more than 1,800 students annually, according to Elizabeth Barber, executive director of The Greeley Dream Team.

“Dr. Bond was an amazing man of character who valued his family, community and access to education,” Barber said. “Thirty-six years ago, as one of the founding fathers of The Greeley Dream Team, he had a vision to challenge the dropout problem and provide a pathway and funding for students to go to college.

Over the years, Bond and his family foundation continued to stay involved by providing scholarships to students, according to Barber.

His “value of educational access and giving back to others” inspired many people in the community, including Barber, who said Bond served as a mentor and role model to her.

“He will be deeply missed and we will work hard to continue to honor his memory by serving others,” Barber said.

Bond was also a founding member of the Weld Food Bank and served as the first president and CEO of the Weld Community Foundation.

“Dick Bond was a great friend and advocate of Weld Food Bank,” CEO Bob O’Connor said. “Dick played a vital role in establishing a reliable food rescue and hunger relief program in Weld County. He will be greatly missed by us and the community, but the impact of his legacy will be felt for years to come.”

Richard "Dick" Bond. (Courtesy/University of Northern Colorado)
Richard “Dick” Bond. (Courtesy/University of Northern Colorado)

At UNC, Bond established a student-oriented culture through the creation of departments, such as Mexican-American Studies, African-American Studies and Women’s Studies. In 2005, UNC formally recognized his legacy and contributions to the university by naming a dorm residence “Bond Hall.”

“Dick was a great leader, and the legacy he left on our university is eternal,” UNC President Andy Feinstein said. “He cared deeply about UNC and worked tirelessly on behalf of our students, faculty, and staff. While this news is sad, I hope you will join me in celebrating Dick’s life and many contributions to the university and broader community.”

At Morgan Community College, Bond collaborated with four school districts to help high school students earn their diplomas while attaining associate degrees from community college, his obituary said. Today, this program is replicated across the state.

In 2012, Bond co-founded Salida del Sol Academy, a K-8 charter and dual language school in east Greeley. Since its opening in 2014, he remained involved as a board of director member up until recently.

After he retired from UNC, Bond served three terms in the Colorado Legislature. His obituary listed political accomplishments including anti-tobacco legislation and other health legislation.

Bond also authored the Post-Secondary Options Act, which enabled students to enroll in college courses while still in high school. Years later, high school students across the state continue to take advantage of this program.

Bond earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Salem College and the University of West Virginia. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Wisconsin.

Before coming to Colorado, Bond began his teaching career in zoology and biology. He advanced to holding several higher education roles at Elmira College in New York, the University of Liberia in Africa and Illinois State University.

Bond became academic vice president at Illinois State University in the wake of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, according to his obituary. Over the next five years, Bond inspired his team to embrace diversity, hiring the first Black faculty member in the history of the institution.

He furthered his diversity efforts by initiating a student exchange program, which later became the National Student Exchange. This program has affected the lives of more than 100,000 students.

Bond is survived by his wife, Reva; three sons, Dave Bond, Phil Bond and Mike Bond; and his daughter, Josette Bond. He also is survived by five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, six step-great-grandchildren and his sister, Nellie Jo Brissey.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday at the First Congregational Church, 2101 16th St., in Greeley. A reception will follow at the Poudre Learning Center, 8313 F St. in Greeley. A livestream and recording of the service will be available at

Instead of flowers, the Greeley Dream Team, Poudre Learning Center and Salida Del Sol Academy will accept contributions in Bond’s name, according to his obituary.

“He was passionate about community service and philanthropy, inspiring those around him to contribute their time and resources,” his obituary said. “He would hope this message resonates with you.”

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