John Dayton graduated in 1968 with a speech degree and secondary education certificate. After serving several years in the UMM Admissions Office and two years with the U.S. Army, he enrolled in Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock. Following graduation, he joined one of the largest, oldest, most prestigious law firms in Dallas-Thompson, Knight, Simmons and Bullion-and specialized in real estate law.
In 1982 John stumbled upon an interesting property-a dining establishment-and discovered a talented chef. A few months later, he resigned from his law firm position and entered the world of hospitality by opening his first restaurant, Routh Street Cafe in Dallas. Currently, John is a partner in Cuisine Concepts the umbrella organization and operating company of Tejas, Goodfellow's and Tejas Express restaurants, The Franklin Street Bakery, and a restaurant management and consulting business, all located in Minneapolis.
John gives generously and graciously to a variety of important organizations. He served as chair of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, an organization planning a multi-purpose performing arts complex in the Dallas Arts District. John also served as chairman of the board and president of The Dallas Opera and chair of The Dallas County Youth Village, a residential treatment facility for young people. He was an executive committee member of The Dallas Zoological Society and board member of ChildCare Dallas. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Minnesota Foundation, The Taft School in Connecticut and Eaglebrook School in Massachusetts.
John co-chaired the UMM Campaign Minnesota Volunteer Executive Committee. The successful fundraising drive garnered much good will for UMM and almost $9.6 million dollars in private support for the campus.
(From the 2003 news story)