On Being Honored in Brick and Mortar: Q&A With Professor Emeritus C. Ray Smith

By Kristen Keesee

Few have played a more central role advancing the University of Virginia Darden School of Business than Professor Emeritus C. Ray Smith (MBA ’58). As part of a record $68 million gift to the School, Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) dedicated $7.2 million as a challenge match in Smith’s honor to fully renovate C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall into a hub for alumni engagement and lifelong learning. Donors who help unlock the match through gifts of $100,000 or more will receive special recognition as sponsors of the project.

Hear from Smith on what he hopes this new space in his honor will create for the community.

Why is lifelong learning important for Darden and its alumni?

Lifelong learning is an important part of the Darden School’s mission, and it’s an important part of your education, particularly if you are in the business world. The whole opportunity for lifelong learning has been changing fast — you can do it online or come back to Grounds — and in the fast-paced world that we live in, you have to keep learning.

How do you hope the building named in your honor will transform Darden once it’s complete?

I hope that C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall will foster more opportunities for alumni to pursue their own lifelong learning — it’s important for them to do it when they can.

What does it mean to you that donors want to give in your honor?

It means a lot that students remember me and feel that I had an impact on them. In teaching, you don’t get immediate feedback on what a student has learned; if students make good grades, then you assume they learned something. But when you hear from your students later on in life and see the impact they are making, that is the best feedback you can get.

Contact Interim Vice President for Advancement Samantha Hartog at HartogS@darden.virginia.edu or +1-434-982-2151 for more information on how to unlock matching funds to honor the legacy of C. Ray Smith and power Darden’s future.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

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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