UVA Darden Bestows Highest Honor on 2 Alumni, Including First International Recipient
By Jay Hodgkins
University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumni Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. (MBA ’91) and George Tahija (MBA ’86) were recognized with the Charles C. Abbott Award 24 April at the conclusion of the virtual Darden Reunion Week.
The award is the highest honor the Darden School bestows upon alumni and is presented annually at the close of Darden Reunion Weekend to recognize outstanding contributions of time, energy and talent. With reunion events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, the School did not announce an Abbott Award winner in 2020.
Baltimore was lauded for his “extraordinary leadership” as a member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and Darden Racial Equity Cabinet. The president, CEO and chairman of Park Hotels & Resorts is a member of UVA’s Raven Society, earned his bachelor’s degree from the UVA McIntire School of Commerce, serves on the board of the University of Virginia Investment Management Co., and has served as guest lecturer in Darden’s perennially popular “General Managers Taking Action” class.
He is a member of Darden’s Principal Donors Society and created a named fellowship to provide scholarship support to Black students at Darden.
“I love Darden. Darden changed my life, it changed the growth path of my career and I’m eternally grateful,” Baltimore said. “My parents stressed the ‘three Ts.’ Give your time, talent and treasures. I have tried to do that and support our beloved Darden in many ways.”
Tahija, who was Darden’s first student from Indonesia when he arrived on Grounds as a First Year in 1984, became the first international recipient of the Abbott Award.
“As an international alum and Darden’s first Indonesian student, it was my desire and hope Darden would become more international,” Tahija said after the award was announced. “It was challenging at times, but the effort has borne fruit.”
The commissioner of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk has served on Darden’s Board of Trustees and Global Advisory Council, is honorary chair of the School’s Powered by Purpose capital campaign, and is a frequent guest lecturer and speaker in Darden classes and events.
He has been a leader in Darden’s international expansion by growing and engaging the Darden community in Indonesia. He and his wife, Laurel, created a fellowship to provide scholarships to students from Indonesia, and Tahija noted his pride that the fund will support four students from Indonesia planning to join the School’s MBA Class of 2023.
The Tahijas, members of the School’s Principal Donors Society, have also provided foundational support for the Darden Institute for Business in Society and a lead gift to support the creation of a new arboretum and botanical gardens on Darden Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I’m honored to be the 2021 recipient of this most distinguished award and would like to express my heartfelt appreciation,” Tahija said. “In my personal transition from studying to embarking on my life mission in Indonesia, Darden provided me with the education and confidence I needed.”
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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