Dean Bruner Honored, Dean Designate Beardsley Introduced at UVA Darden Reunion Weekend Events
On Saturday morning of what was already a busy Darden Reunion Weekend, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Dean Designate Scott C. Beardsley accepted a warm welcome from Dean Robert F. Bruner at the annual State of the School on 25 April, which gathered more than 300 alumni in the Abbott Center Auditorium while many more watched via a live online stream .
Beardsley expressed his enthusiasm for his role as Darden’s next dean, telling the crowd, “The word that comes to my mind is ‘Wahoowa!’”
During his address, Beardsley introduced his wife, Claire Dufournet; announced that they will be living in Pavilion I on the Lawn; shared stories about his three sons, the family’s love of travel, and his personal passion for tennis and the New England Patriots; and discussed his decision to leave McKinsey & Company after 26 years — the last 24 spent in Belgium.
When he asked himself “why Darden,” Beardsley said it started with the fact that he loves the School mission, which aligns with his core values of honesty, tolerance, excellence, hard work, the Jeffersonian ideal of “life of the mind,” balance and humility.
Beardsley touted Darden’s potential to continue the momentum created during Dean Bruner’s 10-year tenure based on the School’s top-ranked faculty and educational experience. Among his priorities are identifying how to extend Darden’s impact globally beyond its strong core MBA program through pathways like executive education, research, new programs and collaborations. He warned that there is vicious competition in the business school space that was culminating in an arms race driven by heavy fundraising, but assured the crowd that he will push to help Darden boldly reach new heights.
“We are going to be unstoppable,” Beardsley concluded. “I’m looking forward to coming here on August 1.”
Beardsley’s introductory address to alumni returning to the School for Reunion weekend highlighted a State of the School program that also included the announcement of Prudential Financial Inc. Chair and CEO John R. Strangfeld Jr. (MBA ’77) as the winner of the 2015 Charles C. Abbott Award, the induction of the Class of 1965 into the Abbott Society, and Darden Alumni Association Board of Directors President Douglas T. Moore’s (MBA ’80) announcement of donations from the 14 classes attending Reunion totaling more than $7.2 million.
Dean Bruner was also recognized during the State of the School program for his accomplishments, which was just one part of a busy weekend of high honors for Darden’s eighth dean. On 23 April, the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees hosted a Dean of the Decade Celebration in Dean Bruner’s honor. Not only was Dean Bruner’s official portrait — which now hangs in Saunders Hall with those of Darden’s previous deans — unveiled, but UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan surprised the crowd by announcing that Dean Bruner had been named a University Professor.
This rare honor belongs to only about 20 of the more than 2,200 professors at UVA. Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration R. Edward Freeman was the first faculty member in Darden’s history to be named a University Professor in 2010. Dean Bruner will return to his role as a Darden professor after a yearlong research leave following the end of his second term as dean.
Locke Ogens, senior executive director of the Darden School Foundation and Strategic Relations, announced during the event that one of Dean Bruner’s highest priorities — the Dean’s Fund for Faculty Excellence — had exceeded its goal of $10 million, with donors raising $11.6 million. During the State of the School program, Ogens offered Dean Bruner one more surprise: The Dean’s Fund has been renamed the Robert F. Bruner Fund for Faculty Excellence to commemorate his indelible mark on the School.
“Bob is the kind of leader many of us aspire to be — humble, passionate and driven,” said Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees Chair James A. Cooper (MBA ’84) as he kicked off the Dean of the Decade Celebration. “Bob’s dedication to Darden over the past 33 years has been remarkable, and his efforts as dean in the past decade have been nothing short of transformational for this institution.”
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia