As a former CEO of one of the world’s most well-known companies, Warren Staley is no stranger to leadership.
“It is leaders,” he said, “who create change that improves the lives of others.”
As an alumnus devoted to increasing educational opportunities, student success and philanthropic ventures, Staley has certainly been a leader in improving the lives of many at K-State.
In acknowledgement of Staley’s contributions to the university, he received an honorary doctorate during the Graduate School Spring 2013 commencement ceremony. He also served as commencement speaker during the Graduate School and College of Agriculture ceremonies.
“Warren and his wife, Mary Lynn, have continued to build on the legacy that they began as undergraduates at Kansas State University,” said Kirk Schulz, university president. “Their support with university scholarships, education and creating opportunities for K-State students to become future leaders will benefit students for generations to come. Dr. Staley is a remarkable example of what it means to be a part of the K-State family.”
The Staleys have been major benefactors to Kansas State University for various academic programs, scholarships and facilities improvements across campus. Their generosity provided the leadership gift to build the university’s Leadership Studies Building. Similarly, Cargill made a gift to honor Staley’s career and retirement, which established the Cargill Center for Ethical Leadership in the building.
Staley also gives his time to the university community. When he visits campus, he interacts with students in the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, sharing his experiences and learning about the concerns, dreams and experiences of the students.
Staley earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from K-State in 1965. Staley went on to receive a master’s degree in business administration from Cornell University in 1967.
In 1969, Staley joined Cargill Inc., the largest privately held, international company that provides food, agriculture and risk management products and services. He served in various positions until being elected president and chief operating officer in 1998. A year later he was named CEO of Cargill, and in 2000 was named chairman of the board. Under his direction, Staley led the company to record performances until his retirement in 2007.