This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of University of Denver Magazine. Read the entire issue online.

Portrait of the Dimond familyRita Dimond likes to visit the Dimond Family Residential Village every fall, when students are unpacking their shower caddies and twin XL sheets, marking the beginning of their higher education journeys.

“Seeing the students and their families brought back memories of me doing that with my own children,” Rita says. “You could sense their excitement as well as their nervousness.”

Her advice for those nervous students? To make lasting and authentic connections with their peers.

“This bond that you’re going to build with all these young people that are in the same position as you—it’s unbelievable,” Rita says. “They’re going to make long-lasting friendships that will change their lives forever. It’s a very pivotal time for these young people, and it’s such a joy to play a small part in that.”

For the Dimonds, giving is a family affair—and their DU roots run deep.

Rita’s husband, Navin Dimond (MBA 1986), currently sits on the Board of Trustees. He immigrated from England to the U.S. in the 1980s to pursue an undergraduate degree at Washington State University. Later, Navin came to DU as a Daniels College of Business employee and took advantage of the tuition waiver to pursue his own business degree.

Navin used the expertise and experience gained in his MBA classes to establish his own Denver-based hospitality management company, Stonebridge Companies, with Rita.

“My studies at DU in real estate and construction management proved to be quite transformative. They opened my eyes to hard assets, namely real estate,” Navin recalls. “And that’s kind of how I ended up where I did, in many ways.”

Rita and Navin say their decision to give back was an easy one, given their family’s connection to the University and their commitment to education.

“It’s a very special place, where you get a fabulous education on a gorgeous campus right in the heart of Denver,” Rita says. “It’s a school that my family and I are very passionate about, and we feel very honored and privileged to be able to contribute to its success.”

Navin says his admiration for DU is shaped by his educational aspirations as the child of Indian immigrants.

“Higher education resonated with me because as a kid growing up in London, in this immigrant family, I never thought I’d ever have a college degree,” Navin says. “Because nobody around me went to college—I was a first-generation college student. So, college and higher ed became more important, because it wasn’t something that I thought I’d ever have the opportunity to experience.”

The Dimond daughters, Ashley and Sonja, say their parents’ approach to philanthropy has inspired them to give back in their own ways—and, like their parents, they have a fondness for educational giving.

“Education is particularly important because it is a means of giving individuals the tools for success, enabling them to learn, develop and grow in whatever industry they want to pursue,” Sonja says.

Family isn’t just about the people who share your genes, Navin says, and he hopes that the Dimond Family Residential Village is playing a crucial part in helping students build families of their own at DU.

“It’s the broader context of the meaning of family, right?” he says. “That doesn’t mean your blood relatives—it’s the family, it’s the community you create. And I bet over the years and decades from now, there’ll be probably students who will share Thanksgiving together or meals together, and that sense of family will live on.”

The Dimonds’ gift helps to make those DU family ties possible, year after year. And their philanthropy, Navin says, is like those relationships he hopes students will build—based on a solid family foundation.

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