Tinbergs hope to ignite passion with $1 million gift furthering ‘business for a better world’ education

Colorado State University College of Business alumnus Rich Tinberg, ’72, has spent his career personifying the fact that good business is about more than just the bottom line, and he wants to impart that lesson onto future generations.

“I’m hoping that faculty can really ignite that passion in students to do something that’s greater than just profit and loss, that they believe in something, and their companies have a vision that resonates with their interests, whatever it may be,” Tinberg said.

That’s why he and his wife, Elaine, have committed $1 million to the College of Business to continue the Tinberg Teaching Innovation Grants as well as to create the Tinberg Better World Professorship.

Rich Tinberg headshot

A portrait of CSU alumnus Rich Tinberg.

The Tinberg Teaching Innovation Grants were created to inspire faculty to design their course content to equip students with the values, knowledge and skills to navigate the changing world, understand how to manage and lead inclusive environments, and address global challenges with sustainable business models and practices.

The Tinberg Business for a Better World Professorship will support College of Business faculty who are exceptional scholars and whose research embodies the philosophy of business for a better world. These faculty are recognized nationally and globally for their contributions to their disciplines, and their work holds substantial promise for positively impacting society. At the same time, these faculty are passionate about sharing their insights and teaching students the fundamentals of using business to improve social, environmental and economic sustainability.

“Rich and Elaine are deeply committed to uniting purpose and profit because they believe, as we do, that business has the power to change the world,” College of Business Dean Beth Walker said. “The Business for a Better World Professorship will help us retain our world-class faculty whose research interests and teaching philosophy reside at the intersection of business, society and the environment, enhancing the student experience and contributing to the business world at large.”

The Tinberg legacy

Rich Tinberg accepts Distinguished Alumni Award

Alumni Association Executive Director Kristi Bohlender presents the College Of Business Honor Alumnus award to Rich Tinberg during the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony on Oct. 7, 2021. (Joe Mendoza | CSU Photography)

Tinberg first came to CSU on a football scholarship, where he played running back alongside legendary Ram Lawrence McCutcheon.

During his time at CSU, Tinberg became heavily involved in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and realized that business, rather than football, would be his future career. He went on to continue his education at Northwestern University and married his wife of 41 years at the SAE headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. 

Tinberg has previously been recognized by CSU as a distinguished alumnus and is the president and CEO of the Bradford Hammacher Group, which includes The Bradford Exchange, the largest international marketer of affinity-based art products, jewelry, collectibles and gifts.

He is currently working on making the company’s shipping practices more environmentally sustainable and says business practices like this just make sense. 

“It’s just generally a good thing, and people like us need to be champions for a greater good and actually make change happen,” Tinberg said.

Outside of work, Rich and Elaine Tinberg are champions of education in their community and beyond.

Rich and Elaine Tinberg
Rich and Elaine Tinberg pose for a photo together.

Elaine Tinberg is on three philanthropic boards, spearheaded a new theater in Chicago’s northern suburbs, has helped develop programs to match art education with local school districts and created a parents’ manual for childhood depression.

“Education is really important in all of our lives, whatever it may be, and we just believe that the more we all know about the world, the better we can make it,” Rich Tinberg said.

And the Tinberg’s commitment to education is responsible for enriching the experience of CSU students in “BUS 300: Business Writing and Communication.” This required class for all business undergraduates imparts lessons that will be used well beyond their time on campus. 

“I was looking at my student course surveys, and I actually had a number of students that said ‘this seems like the most important class we will ever take,’” said Jenny Morse, a senior instructor for the College of Business.

She and Master Instructor Theresa Wernimont have used the Tinberg Teaching Innovation Grant to create a series of videos to add information about the human element of cybersecurity to this course’s curriculum. 

These videos teach students about how it’s often people – not just technology – that contribute to the potentially detrimental cybersecurity breaches that have become increasingly common in modern business.

Wernimont – a two-time Tinberg grant recipient – has also used the funds to add a diversity, equity and inclusion element to the BUS 300 class.   

“What the Tinberg Teaching Innovation Grant does is reward us for the work that we’re always trying to do to go above and beyond in our jobs, and it’s really nice to have that work acknowledged and supported,” Wernimont said. 

The Tinberg family’s gifts will fund the Tinberg Business for a Better World University Professorship and Tinberg Teaching Innovation Grants through 2025.

“It’s not just about learning the facts, it’s imagining how you can make a difference, and hopefully good professors will engender that in all students,” Tinberg said.

For more information about the impact donors have on the CSU community, visit giving.colostate.edu.