Reunion Weekend 2019: Alumni Prepare to Come Back and Give Back

As University of Virginia Darden School of Business Reunion Weekend approaches, numerous classes are making an effort to create opportunities for prospective Darden students. The classes of 1974, 1989 and 1994 have identified their reunions as an opportunity to create scholarships: 1974 in honor of a faculty member, 1989 in support of students with financial need and 1994 in honor of a classmate.

45th Reunion: Honoring a Faculty Hero

Brad Armstrong (MBA ’74) is helping to lead the Class of 1974’s charge to establish the Professor Derek A. Newton Bicentennial Scholars Fund.

“This scholarship honors a person who meant a lot to me and to our class, and honors Professor Newton’s demandingly high standard of excellence.”

Armstrong said creating a scholarship for the class’ 45th reunion aligns with the legacy his classmates want to leave the School. For Darden to remain the team-oriented learning environment the class experienced over four decades ago, he said the School needs to recruit individuals who “come to Darden, no matter how much money they have, for the highest education, the best learning environment and the best teamwork possible.”

30th Reunion: Helping Students With Need

The Class of 1989 is making an impactful investment in the MBA education experience that bonded them. In honor of their 30th reunion, the class is establishing a scholarship for an incoming Darden student with a demonstrated financial need.

It is a true class effort motivated by the collective desire to make Darden accessible to “a great student who will be a great contributor and then a great alum, even if he or she comes from a tough financial situation,” said John Parsons (MBA ’89).

An early supporter of the scholarship, Parsons is personally driven by his own experience paying his way through Darden and the opportunity for future students to not incur the same financial responsibilities when pursuing the incredible experience unique to the School.

25th Reunion: Honoring a Classmate

The Class of 1994 Michael D. Traina Scholarship is being established by the Class of 1994 to honor Mike Traina, whom his classmates deem a sterling example for how Darden can send one on a positive professional trajectory.

“When I think about returning to Grounds for reunion with the individuals from my class, I think about the unique and strong bonds we forged through small class sizes, learning teams (then called study groups), faculty relationships, the rigor and the academics, the difficulties and challenges,” said Carl Peoples (MBA ’94). “To support scholarships is to preserve that experience and to invest in the relationships created only through the Darden experience. It’s the idea that a scholarship affords someone else the opportunity to forge the bonds that will also carry with them for 25-plus years.”

The University of Virginia Bicentennial Scholars Fund adds significant momentum to Reunion Giving efforts. Alumni volunteers leading class fundraising efforts recognize that the potential for a match from the Bicentennial Scholars Fund is a great tool to drive class philanthropy. “It is a spectacular thing that the University is doing,” Brad Armstrong (MBA ’74) said. “The Bicentennial Scholars Fund — alongside our reunion — gives us incentive to do it now.”

John Parsons (MBA ’89) concurs with the great impact that the 2:1 match affords. “We, as Darden alumni, have a strategic approach to not just business, but any problem that impacts society in a positive way,” he said. “This is what makes the Darden education we are supporting through scholarships so valuable — that it makes the world a better place.”

To discuss Darden Reunion Giving, contact Whitney Wilson at or +1-434-924-0706.

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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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia