UVA Darden Dean Charts Bold Future at State of the School Address
By Dave Hendrick
Welcoming alumni back to Grounds for Reunion Weekend during the annual State of the School Address, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley said the School was in a strong position, but needed intensive execution on a number of fronts in order to reach the full potential of its mission.
“I believe that Darden is very strong, and we have built on the great momentum of the past,” Beardsley said. “But I will also caution you that the environment that we compete in is incredibly competitive. This area of graduate management education is among the most competitive spaces you can imagine.”
The State of the School Address served as the centerpiece of a busy Reunion Weekend, which also included a meeting of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, a ceremony inducting six new members into the Principal Donors Society, the presentation of the Charles C. Abbott Award to Frank Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) and a host of special programming.
The dean described a number of positions of current strength, noting the School’s dedicated alumni base, a host of No. 1 rankings, and the vibrant and growing Charlottesville entrepreneurial community, among other factors.
Darden continues to iterate on its top-ranked educational experience, and Beardsley reported that the goal of seeing every Darden student have a global experience is rapidly becoming reality, with students in the current school year spending an average of 10 days outside of the United States, up from seven days in the previous year. Enrollment in Darden Worldwide Courses has almost doubled since 2016. Moreover, the School held classes in 46 locations on six continents in the past year.
Closer to home, the School’s move into the Washington, D.C., area was hailed as a success, and the dean noted the accelerating activity in the region in the year since the School announced plans for the area. Notable achievements in the short time frame include: a fully enrolled Executive MBA cohort, multiple full-time employees on the ground, newly leased office space in Rosslyn, Virginia, and plans for deeper faculty and executive education engagement.
“Thanks to the Sands family and their generosity, we are right there on the banks of the Potomac River looking down the Mall,” Beardsley said. “We’re seeing that this is creating a whole new ecosystem for us.”
Beardsley said the School continued to excel in attracting top-tier students and faculty, noting the across-the-board positive trends reflected in the Class of 2018 and the new faculty members that will join Darden for the next School year — teachers and researchers Beardsley said are “each incredible in their own right.”
As the School looks further into the future, Beardsley described a bold vision for the future that will be rolled out in line with UVA’s next capital campaign, which begins in October in conjunction with the University’s Bicentennial Commemoration.
“It’s audacious, but I think it’s within our grasp,” Beardsley said of the plans for the School’s future.
Darden alumni returning for Reunion certainly demonstrated their commitment and generosity to Darden. The 2017 Reunion featured record attendance, and collective giving for the 2017 Reunion classes totaled $8,058,384, a new record for reunion giving.
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