In Memoriam: Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63), Whose Philanthropy Transformed UVA Darden

22 March 2021

By Dave Hendrick

Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63), a visionary investment manager who left an indelible mark on the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, passed away at his home on 18 March.

The founder of Sands Capital Management, Sands — along with his family — have helped to transform the Darden School on a variety of fronts, including enabling the School’s expansion into the Washington, D.C., area and fortifying key areas of strength for the School for future generations.

In 2019, Sands made the largest gift in School history, $68 million to benefit Darden’s professors, its students and lifelong learners, and facilities in the Washington, D.C., area and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sands, whose obituary described him as “a mentor who loved to cultivate talent and encouraged people to grow personally and professionally,” viewed the gift as an investment in the future of Darden and for the betterment of the world.

“The Darden School was a transformational experience for me, and I am an ardent supporter of its mission and values,” Sands said at the time. “I am a big believer in lifelong learning, and that learning is enabled by great faculty. I hope this gift will inspire others to give and hope that the School will continue to be a true force for good in the free markets and broader world.”

His giving has enabled:

  • The Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning – The Marjorie R. and Frank M. Sands Sr. Institute for Lifelong Learning, which Darden formally launched in December 2020, will fortify and grow Darden’s innovation in pedagogy and delivery of transformational lifelong learning experiences.
  • Faculty support – Sands’ gift supports 12 new faculty chairs to collaborate with the Sands Institute and bolster excellence and innovation in pedagogy and engagement with practice, including case writing and course and program development.
    • Four distinguished professorship chairs were created in 2019 in honor of Darden professors with a legacy of exceptional teaching and commitment to the School: John Forbes, Bob Landel, Yiorgos Allayannis and Dean Emeritus and University Professor Bob Bruner.
    • An additional eight term chairs, called the Sands Professorships, were created. Five of them were established by the UVA Board of Visitors in July 2020 and awarded in September 2020 to Professors Toni Irving, Lynn Isabella, Scott Snell, Paul Simko and Kimberly Whitler.
    • In March, the remaining three Sands Professorships were established and named by Sands Sr. for Marjorie R. Sands, Julie Logan Sands and Dean Scott Beardsley.
  • Master Plan support in Charlottesville and in the Washington, D.C., area:
    • Sands’ gift jumpstarted construction of the new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning, which began in January. Upon completion and pending UVA Board of Visitors approval, the inn will be named the Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2023.
    • He established a fund to renovate C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall, named in honor of Dean Emeritus C. Ray Smith (MBA ’58), who mentored Sands.

Sands’ record-setting gift builds on the joint donation that he and his son Frank Sands (MBA ’94) made to build Darden’s new campus in the Rosslyn district of Arlington, Virginia — UVA Darden DC Metro at the Sands Family Grounds — which opened in March 2018.

Beyond philanthropy, Sands gave selflessly of his time, and served on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees since 2011.

Sands received the Charles C. Abbott Award — the highest honor the school bestows on alumni — in 2017. The award proclamation called Sands “a leader in his field and his community, personifying Darden’s mission, values and principles through his actions.”

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.


Press Contact

David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia