UVA Darden School of Business Announces Faculty Winner of 2015 Mead Endowment

28 September 2015

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Saras Sarasvathy received the 2015 Mead Endowment John Colley Award, a financial prize that advances the “dream idea” of a Darden professor each year. About a dozen UVA faculty members received Mead Endowment awards for their dream ideas at a dinner held Saturday in honor of the winners on UVA’s Grounds.

A professor in the area of strategy, ethics and entrepreneurship focused on cognitive aspects of entrepreneurs such as effectuation, Sarasvathy was named one of the top 18 entrepreneurship professors by Fortune Small Business magazine in 2007. She has received awards for teaching and scholarly work around the world and her book, Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise, was nominated for the 2009 Terry Book Award by the Academy of Management. Effectuation is globally acclaimed as a way to understand the creation and growth of new organizations and markets, and a research program based on effectuation involves more than one hundred scholars around the world.

Sarasvathy will use the prize funds to help students understand the full range of complexities — operational and emotional — faced by entrepreneurs when starting up a venture. Sarasvathy will engage her students and even a professional theater company to create a series of webisodes showcasing business situations that highlight human emotions and failings, body language, cognitive intelligence, and analytical abilities.

“In my years teaching entrepreneurship, I have often felt frustrated at not being able to fully tackle the corporeal and relational aspects of real business situations. Recently, I have begun experimenting with theater as a more full-bodied substitute for traditional — mostly cognitive — individual or team presentations,” Sarasvathy said. “I am grateful for the Mead Endowment allowing me to execute on a project I have been dreaming about for a while now.”

The webisodes will allow Sarasvathy to bring into the classroom the “felt reality” of individual passions, uncertainty and interests that impact actual business situations. Students will also have the opportunity to produce the webisodes, which Sarasvathy hopes will accumulate over the years and leave a legacy at Darden for future students to tap.

Mead Endowment awards go to faculty members whose projects involve students in meaningful ways. The endowment is named for Ernest “Boots” Mead, a former UVA music professor who for decades personified Thomas Jefferson’s founding vision of faculty interacting with students outside the classroom as friends and mentors. Mead passed away in February 2014, leaving a legacy of changing lives by connecting students to each other and to alumni.

The John Colley Award funds a Darden faculty member to participate in the university’s Mead Endowment program each year and is named for one of Darden’s most beloved, long-time faculty members.

Over the course of a year, Mead-honored faculty will implement their dream ideas and provide updates to the Mead Endowment on their progress until they return to the Rotunda the following year to share with the next cohort the impacts their ideas had on them, their students and the community.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

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.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia