Alumni, Faculty Honor Life and Legacy of Darden Executive MBA Founding Dean With Marian Chapman Moore Award

Faculty, family, friends and former students assembled on the Charlottesville Grounds of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business 20 August to celebrate the life and legacy of a beloved teacher and colleague lost this spring.

Professor Marian Moore was remembered in remarks from five Darden professors, two of her former Executive MBA students and her husband as a skilled teacher, researcher and servant leader who used the power of kindness, caring and subtle nudges to help others reach their full potential.

Darden Professor Luann Lynch said she met Moore 35 years ago when she was an MBA student at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Moore was her marketing professor.

“All of us have one or two professors who make a difference in our lives. And for me, that was Marian Moore. She is easily one of the best professors I ever had. She was a master of the case method and truly cared about every student in the room,” Lynch said. “At Darden, it was an honor to work with her. I could not believe my good fortune. She was just as good of a colleague as she was a teacher.”

At Darden, Moore was as well known for nurturing junior faculty as she was MBA students in the classroom. Professor Kimberly Whitler, now a tenured professor and the Frank M. Sands Associate Professor of Business Administration, recalled how Moore helped her decide Darden was the right home for her after finishing her Ph.D.

Friends of Marian Moore recently painted Beta Bridge at UVA in her honor.

“Interviewing with Marian, I had an odd experience I had never felt before. I felt my research was the most interesting thing in the world to her. I felt like I really mattered and that I fit at Darden,” Whitler said. “Her style of mentorship was different. She had a Darden approach. She didn’t answer questions. She tended to ask them. She listened more than she talked. She gently nudged you to see something you were missing.”

Legacy Leads to New Award for Darden Executive MBA Students

Moore’s legacy at Darden is perhaps best defined by her work to launch what was then known as the Darden MBA for Executives, the School’s first non-residential MBA degree program, which she would later lead as the program’s founding dean.

Dean Emeritus and University Professor Bob Bruner, who was Darden’s new dean when the faculty began considering the new program, recalled the time as one in which Darden had very limited financial resources and faculty bandwidth — and was stretched even more thin after agreeing to take on 100 Tulane MBA students following Hurricane Katrina. Yet, he said she succeeded thanks to three traits: leadership, creativity and an even temperament.

Bruner recalled the meeting in which the Darden faculty took up the effort to launch the MBA for Executives. “It was my first faculty meeting as the new dean, and little did I know what we are about to get into. It was a challenging exercise,” he said. “But what I saw in Marian was the ability to assemble qualities from here and there, and put them together in powerful ways that created not just a program but a legacy.”

Now, 15 years later, the Darden Executive MBA, based at UVA Darden DC Metro in Arlington, Virginia, features the Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA formats with virtual and in-person learning, including weeklong residencies in Charlottesville and around the globe. Following a record number of applications, the Class of 2023 began the program this August as a cohort of 138 students, including 46 percent women and 23 percent U.S. minority students.

“I worked side-by-side Marian to design and launch what we called the MBA for Executives,” said Professor Lynn Isabella. “Crafting the design was no easy task. However, Marian’s deep foundation as a scholar and program designer, her expertise in marketing, her creativity and, frankly, her perseverance inspired us all. The current EMBA program is what it is today because of the foundations Marian put in place.”

In honor of Moore and the incredible impact her work launching the Executive MBA has had on more than 1,000 students, many of her former students — joined by faculty, friends and family — quickly came together to raise $176,000 to endow the Marian Chapman Moore Executive Leadership Award.

Announced at the memorial event, the award will be bestowed annually by the Darden School to recognize a rising Second Year Executive MBA student who demonstrates exceptional, responsible, and principled leadership within the Darden School community. Through additional donor support, the School is hoping to build upon this effort to establish a full-tuition scholarship and provide increased resources for the Executive MBA program.

“She always believed she was part of something bigger,” Moore’s husband, Mike Moore, said during the event. “Marian loved launching the Executive MBA. Thank you to her students — and many others — for making her dream such a shining, lasting tribute to this remarkable woman, scholar and teacher.”

To make a gift to support the Marian Chapman Moore Executive Leadership Award, click here. To learn more about supporting the award, contact Director of Major Gifts 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 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