Coogan Family Establishes First Full Darden Bicentennial Professors Fund
By Margaret Hancock
When asked about a favorite memory or moment with a professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Bill Coogan (MBA ’82) can’t recall just one. Instead, he speaks to a broad spectrum of experiences with faculty during his days as a student:
- Simple yet profound interactions, both in and out of the classroom
- A recommendation for a summer internship between First and Second Year
- A generous offer for a much-needed help session during his Quantitative Analysis course
- An unforgettable case taught in the style that defines the Darden curriculum
For Coogan, these collective experiences continue to resonate with him today, highlighting the impact of the Darden faculty. They served as his motivation to establish the Coogan Family Bicentennial Professors Fund and the Coogan Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund. The funds were created through $4 million in philanthropic support from Coogan, plus an additional $2.5 million matched from the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial Professors Fund and Bicentennial Scholars Fund, for a total of $6.5 million in impact.
A Mission to Preserve the Darden Experience
Coogan called his decision to support both faculty and students an easy one, especially at this moment in time. An active alumnus and member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, he is conscientious of the wave of retiring Darden faculty and the immediate need to replace those dynamic professors. He also understands the costs associated with recruiting new faculty and the School’s need for private philanthropy to succeed in attracting the very best talent. Furthermore, Coogan values the significance of hiring professors who are not only world leaders in their respective fields but leaders in the classroom.
“To preserve the Darden experience,” he said, “you cannot just have professors who lecture. You have to bring in individuals who are able to dynamically lead a class, conduct the case method, inspire students and engage.”
‘The Two Go Together’: Supporting Great Faculty, Students
This connection between strong faculty and the Darden experience was reinforced for Coogan when he became a Darden parent. While son Henry “Hank” Coogan III (MBA ’16) was enrolled in the full-time MBA program, Coogan had the opportunity to get to know a new generation of younger faculty. He discovered the professors’ dedication to both the content and the Darden students mirrored what he had experienced himself so many years earlier.
“While things are different now — different time, different building, different dean, different group — what stays the same is that passion and enthusiasm from the professors,” Coogan said.
For Coogan, the establishment of the Coogan Family Bicentennial Scholars Fund further demonstrates his commitment to faculty and what The Economist has ranked the world’s best education experience eight years in a row. He views scholarships as more than just supporting Darden students — they ultimately lead back to Darden faculty.
“From my lens, the two go together,” he said. “Great faculty want great students and vice versa. To support both is to support the Darden experience and its future. That’s what makes Darden special, and I want to perpetuate that.”
Coogan also hopes that fellow Darden supporters will join him in establishing professorship funds, especially while the University’s Bicentennial match funds are available.
“I want Darden to be as great of an experience for current and future students as it was for me. The only way to do that is through the faculty. And we’re not going to get there with just me. I don’t know what else could bemore important. And now is the time.”
For more information on matching opportunities through UVA’s Bicentennial Professors Fund and Bicentennial Scholars Fund, contact Kara Ramirez Mullins at MullinsK@darden.virginia.edu or +1-434-243-0834.
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.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia