Record 16 New Members Join UVA Darden’s Principal Donors Society
By Jay Hodgkins
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business announced 16 new members to the Principal Donors Society, the School’s highest designation for lifetime giving. The class marks a record-setting number of new inductees in a single year, highlighting the growing momentum of philanthropic support for Darden as UVA launches its Third Century Campaign.
Darden’s Principal Donors, now numbering 79, have fueled the School’s surge to excellence since its founding and have contributed significantly to the School’s establishment, history and facilities.
“As we look ahead to the third century of the University of Virginia and Darden’s unique opportunity to help advance the University’s standing, the excitement is palpable,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “The support of the newest members of the Principal Donors Society — as well as those previously inducted and those who will be inspired to join their ranks — will undoubtedly elevate the Darden School to new heights as we prepare the next generation of purpose-driven business leaders.”
Darden will formally induct the new members at a celebration held on Grounds on 26 April. The new members of the Principal Donors Society are:
- Kirby Clarke Adams (MBA ’79), who recently retired from his 35-year global career during which he served as CEO, president and chairman of private and listed petroleum services, mining and metals companies headquartered in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, India and the U.K. Since 2014, he has served on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. His areas of support for the School include the John Colley Jr. Darden Jefferson Fellowship, LGBT scholarships for Darden students, Pride at Darden and the Darden Annual Fund. He and Dr. John Healy, his partner of 20 years, reside in Melbourne, Australia, and Incline Village, Nevada.
- William D. Cannon Jr. (MBA ’68) and Nancy Cannon. William Cannon has worked as an entrepreneur in industries including real estate, banking and media. He has served on the boards of the UVA Student Aid Foundation (now the Virginia Athletics Foundation) and UVA’s Culpeper Regional Hospital. He and his wife, Nancy, most recently gave in support of scholarships to create the Cannon Darden Jefferson Fellowship.
- G. David Cheek (MBA ’79) and Kathy Cheek. David Cheek is founder and president of The Meridian Group. He has previously served on UVA and Darden boards including the University of Virginia Foundation and the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. The Cheeks’ areas of philanthropic support for Darden include the Robert F. Bruner Dean’s Fund for Faculty Excellence and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Louis Elson (MBA ’90), co-founder and managing partner of Palamon Capital Partners. Elson is a former member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. He has supported Darden generously, responding to a wide variety of the School’s priorities over the years.
- Peter Grant II (MBA ’86) and Colleen Grant. Peter Grant is founding partner of Anchormarck Holdings and chair of UVA’s Third Century Campaign. Grant currently or has previously served on a number of boards at UVA and Darden, including as chair of the UVA Alumni Association Board of Managers, the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and chair of the UVA Licensing and Ventures Group. He and his wife, Colleen, most recently made a principal gift to create the Peter M. Grant II Bicentennial Professorship and have also supported the Class of 1986 Peter J. Niehaus Memorial Scholarship, the Kathy Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Mark Kington (MBA ’88) and Ann Kington. Mark Kington was a founding partner of private-equity firm Columbia Capital and currently serves as managing director of Kington Management. He has served on boards at UVA including as vice rector of the UVA Board of Visitors, chair of the University of Virginia Foundation and a member of the University of Virginia Investment Management Co. The Kingtons’ primary area of giving has been to establish the Kington Scholarship, a Bicentennial Scholarship to support Darden students.
- Doug Lebda (EMBA ’14) and Megan Lebda. Doug Lebda is founder and CEO of LendingTree. He originally left Darden’s full-time MBA program in the 1990s to launch LendingTree, but returned earlier this decade as the company’s CEO to complete his Executive MBA with the School. He becomes the first Executive MBA graduate in the Principal Donors Society, and he and his wife, Megan, created the Lebda Family Scholarship in addition to supporting the i.Lab at UVA Incubator, part of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
- Lemuel Lewis (MBA ’72) and Sandra Lewis. Lemuel Lewis is the president of the privately held Localweather.com and previously served as executive vice president and CFO of Landmark Communications. He is a trustee of the Darden School Foundation and served as a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. His philanthropy to Darden supports the Charles J. Lewis Scholarship, the Lemuel E. Lewis Bicentennial Scholarship for Global Leadership, the Lemuel E. Lewis Bicentennial Award for Global Leadership and the Darden Annual Fund. Lewis and his wife, Sandra, also recently established the Lemuel E. and Sandra Wicks Lewis Bicentennial Scholars Fund for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University.
- Paul A. Murphy, who was a pioneering investor based in New York City before his death in 2015. Murphy has supported the Darden School faculty through giving to establish the Donald McLean Wilkinson Research Professorship in honor of his friend and colleague Donald Wilkinson (MBA ’66), also a Darden Principal Donor.
- G. Ruffner Page Jr. (MBA ’86) and Penny Page. Ruffner Page has served as president of McWane Inc. since 1999. He also serves on the McWane board of directors. The Pages have given to Darden in support of the Class of 1986 Peter J. Niehaus Memorial Scholarship, the Dr. Gene R. Page & David H. White Ph.D. Scholarship, a Bicentennial Scholarship to support Darden students and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Zhiyuan “Jerry” Peng (MBA ’03) and Ying Hu. Jerry Peng is an investor, entrepreneur and former managing director of Goldman Sachs Asia. Peng serves on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, Darden’s Global Advisory Council and the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial Commission. He and his wife, Ying, have given to the School to establish the WW Yen Bicentennial Future Year Scholarship and the WW Yen Darden China Scholarship, support the Darden China Scholarship and support the Darden Annual Fund.
- Frank Sands Jr. (MBA ’94), who along with his father, Frank Sands Sr. (MBA ’63), made a principal gift last year enabling Darden to establish the state-of-the-art Sands Family Grounds in the Rosslyn district of Arlington, Virginia. Sands is CEO and chief investment officer of Sands Capital Management. He serves on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and has given to the School in support of the Sands Family Grounds, the Frank M. Sands Jr. Scholarship, the Robert F. Bruner Dean’s Fund for Faculty Excellence and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Shannon Smith (MBA ’90), CEO of Abundant Power and founding partner to former President Barack Obama’s White House Better Building Initiative. Smith is a member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, served as chair of the Darden Batten Institute Advisory Council and is a member of the Darden Jefferson Scholar Selection Committee. His philanthropy to the Darden School includes a gift to create the Shannon G. Smith Bicentennial Professorship in support of the creation of the Institute of Transformational Leadership and Learning, as well as support for the Robert F. Bruner Dean’s Fund for Faculty Excellence and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Wallace Stettinius (MBA ’59) and Mary Gray Stettinius. Wallace Stettinius serves as director of Grayco and is the retired CEO of Cadmus Communications. Stettinius has served on UVA and Darden boards including the College Foundation, UVA Student Aid Foundation, Darden School Dean’s Search Committee and Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. The Stettinius’ main areas of philanthropic support at Darden include the John L. Colley Jr. Darden Jefferson Fellowship, Ray Smith Fund for Academic and Professional Excellence, and the Darden Annual Fund.
- Warren Thompson (MBA ’83), founder, president and chairman of Thompson Hospitality, the seventh largest food and facilities management company in the United States. Thompson is a former member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and founder of the Dean’s Diversity Advisory Council. Thompson was a member of the UVA Board of Visitors and served on UVA’s Special Committee on the Nomination of President, which helped select Teresa Sullivan as the eighth president of the University of Virginia. His gifts to the School include the establishment of the Warren M. Thompson Scholarship and support for the Marietta and Sherwood Frey Scholarship, the Black Business Student Forum and the Darden Annual Fund.
One new Principal Donor has chosen to remain anonymous and accept the recognition in honor of the Darden School Class of 1957.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. 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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