In Memoriam: UVA Darden Professor Emeritus Neil “Pete” Borden

06 November 2017

By Jay Hodgkins

Neil “Pete” Borden

Professor Emeritus Neil “Pete” Borden Jr., the first full-time marketing professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, died 22 October in Fort Myers, Florida, according to his obituary in The New York Times.

He married his college sweetheart, Beverly Ann (née Bragdon) on June 14, 1953, in Lewiston, Maine on the day they graduated from Bates College; they went on to spend a devoted 64 years together. Having served in the Navy during college, Pete served in the Army following graduation, then went on to earn an MBA (1957) and DBA (1965) at Harvard University.

From 1963 to 1999, Professor Borden enthusiastically taught marketing at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Famous for learning students’ names and faces before term started, he would call on them by name in the first class. He also taught at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland and lectured at numerous executive and corporate programs. He served as Associate Dean on several occasions and chaired the Darden Building Committee from 1991-96.

In a message to the Darden community, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research Sankaran “Venkat” Venkataraman wrote: “Pete was recruited to Darden by Dean Charles Abbott, and he made his mark on the Darden we all know today in many ways. Among his legacies were leading the successful application for Darden’s initial accreditation from the American Collegiate Schools of Business; developing Darden’s integrated academic program — the layering of courses to achieve a well-rounded, action oriented approach; leading a cooperative case-writing venture with Management Development Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland; and chairing the committee overseeing construction of the current Darden Grounds. He also authored many cases on international marketing.”

In Darden: A Pictorial History of the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, which catalogs the School’s first 50 years, Borden shared why he was keen to  become one of several Harvard Business School DBAs to make the jump from Boston to Charlottesville in order to help build Darden in its early days.

“I wanted to go wherever I could make a difference,” he said. “If you got in on something that was just starting, you might get a good ride. And the more I thought about the Darden School and learned about it, the more eager I was to get on board. I was the first full-time marketing guy here. That’s getting on board pretty early.”

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.


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