With a $150,000 matching gift, Don Dillon was the quiet force behind a record-breaking Regis Gives

Every April, the Regis community rallies to support Regis Gives, the University’s largest annual fundraiser. Last month, Regis experienced the most successful Regis Gives in its seven-year history, raising much-needed funds for innovative, high-impact programs and projects that will deepen the Regis student experience, fund critical scholarships and elevate the work of our brilliant faculty and staff.

Many of the 700 donors who gave during Regis Gives were motivated by the promise that their gift would be doubled, thanks to the generosity of a donor who pledged to match up to $150,000 in donations, dollar for dollar. This matching challenge meant that, when a student gave $5 to support a favorite professor’s labor-of-love project, it turned in to $10. When a parent donated $500 to honor their child’s Regis experience, it turned into $1,000. The matching challenge inspired more than $175,000 in gifts, raising the total to $325,000. Though he preferred to remain anonymous through the Regis Gives campaign itself, we are honored to share that the generous donor behind this catalyzing gift is Don Dillon, whose deep history of giving to the University goes far beyond this year’s Regis Gives.

Since 2000, Don has directed more than $2 million to the University, mostly to support scholarships that make the transformational experience of a Regis education available to generations of students. Over the last few years, he has inspired others to give through matching challenges issued through the D F Dillon Foundation. Last year, Don pledged a $125,000 match to Regis Gives. He also provided a $100,000 match to the Gift of an Education year-end campaign in both 2022 and 2023. “I think of it as an investment in the University and also in the students, who hopefully are going to create a better world,” he says. “It’s an investment in the future.”

Growing up in Nebraska, Don was one of 10 children in a faithful Catholic family -- and only one of two to go to college. He learned about Regis from the Franciscan nuns who taught at his local high school and operated a hospital there. Don’s sister, Katherine, who also graduated from Regis College, became a Franciscan nun. In 1957, he made the trip to Denver to start his freshman year.

“I was only 17 when I got a train to go to Regis from my small town, and I didn’t have a clue how to get from the train station to the college,” he says. “When I arrived, I stepped off train and said, ‘Oh my gosh! How will I get to campus?’ Somebody came up to me and said, 'You going to Regis? Follow me!’ I hopped into the back of a flatbed truck with some other guys, and we made it to campus.”

Don did not complete his degree at Regis. But he always carried a fondness for his time here. “I learned more at Regis in a short time than I probably did in several years at other places,” he says. “It was a pretty small, tight-knit community. There was this idea that you create the whole person; that was the whole message and the name of the game.”

For more than 40 years, Don has been a leader in the financial software industry. Among his many accomplishments, he co-founded a start-up that developed industry-standard software and was eventually sold to what became a Fortune 500 company. Don is also a celebrated philanthropist and founder of the D F Dillon Foundation, which has provided millions of dollars to support education and direct service to those in need, mainly in Nebraska. “I’ve been fairly successful in life, and part of that is because of the discipline I learned at Regis,” he says.

He notes that it was a private scholarship that made his Regis experience possible. “It was somebody else’s generosity that kept me there,” he says.

We are grateful to Don, whose generosity will help keep students of today and tomorrow at Regis, too.

headshot of don Dillon 

Regis donor Don Dillon