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A $68 million donation to the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia will help pay for a new hotel/conference center to replace the University of Virginia Inn at Darden.

Business school at University of Virginia gets $68 million donation

The donation, the largest ever to the business school, will enable it to build a conference center and enhance programs.

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has received the largest gift in its 64-year history.

The business school says that the gift of $68 million from Sands Capital Management Founder Frank M. Sands Sr. will move the business school forward in several key areas.

The new Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning will enable innovation in the degree, non-degree and online spaces and  transform Darden’s educational facilities in Charlottesville, the school says.

“The Darden School was a transformational experience for me, and I am an ardent supporter of its mission and values,” says Sands, who earned a Darden MBA in 1963. “I am a big believer in lifelong learning, and that learning is enabled by great faculty. I hope this gift will inspire others to give and hope that the school will continue to be a true force for good in the free markets and broader world.”

Combined with university matching funds, Sands’ gift delivers $82 million in total impact. The $14 million in matching funds comes from the university's Bicentennial Professors Fund, which was launched by the Board of Visitors in 2017 to help attract and retain top faculty and scholars.

The $82 million in funding will transform Darden in various ways:

  • A $20 million endowment for the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning will determine best practices for teaching lifelong learners and working executives in both degree and non-degree programs, whether face-to-face in the classroom, online or through novel delivery methods. The gift includes an investment in Darden’s portfolio of online courses that will extend Darden’s reach. The Sands Institute will empower the school’s faculty to redesign and innovate learning courses, curricula and programs.
  • A $35 million Sands Professorship Fund will support 12 new faculty chairs to bolster excellence and innovation in pedagogy. Four distinguished professorship chairs will be created in honor of Darden professors with a legacy of exceptional teaching and commitment to the school:
  • John Forbes, the Darden School’s first professor, who died in 2018 at age 107;
  • Bob Landel, who teaches operations and retired this year after nearly 50 years of teaching;
  • Yiorgos Allayannis, a finance professor and master teacher of the case method; and
  • Dean Emeritus and University Professor Bob Bruner, who served as dean from 2005 to 2015.

An additional eight emerging scholar chairs, called the Sands Professorships, will enable Darden to recruit and develop top faculty.

  • A $20 million fund for the construction of a new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning in Charlottesville will jumpstart the estimated $90 million project. Construction of the 199-room hotel and conference center, which will feature a 5-acre arboretum and will connect Darden and the university's School of Law, is expected to begin in 2020.
  • A $7 million fund for the C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall will enable the renovation of the building.
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