Renovation of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall at UVA Darden’s Charlottesville Grounds Begins

30 November 2021

By Jay Hodgkins

Renovation of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, began on 1 November, with completion expected by 31 December 2022.

C. Ray Smith

Professor Emeritus C. Ray Smith (MBA ’58) is the namesake of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall, for which Darden is seeking support to complete a major renovation.

Smith Hall, of course, is named in honor of Professor Emeritus C. Ray Smith (MBA ’58), who played a foundational role advancing the School during its first decades, serving as dean multiple times.

Part of Darden’s Grounds Master Plan, a major component of the Powered by Purpose campaign, the renovated Smith Hall will house academic, administrative and programmatic spaces that will support alumni engagement, online learning and executive education and help expand the School’s global brand and influence.

An artist's rendering of new meeting space inside the renovated C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall.

An artist's rendering of a conference room inside the renovated C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall.

Once complete, the building will be home to the Marjorie R. and Frank M. Sands Sr. Institute for Lifelong Learning, which leads the School’s efforts to deliver innovation in pedagogy and transformational lifelong learning experiences and outcomes; Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning; and the Darden School Foundation. It will also serve as a central location to welcome Darden alumni, Executive Education participants and other visitors to the School, as well as provide additional connection to the new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning and the School’s core academic buildings.

The renovation will help the building achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and provide an entryway to the new Japanese Garden — part of the arboretum and botanical gardens. The arboretum and gardens serve as a connection point between Smith Hall, the inn and conference center, and all of UVA’s North Grounds, and provide a scenic outdoor space for meetings or quiet contemplation.

An artist's rendering of a new entrance from the renovated C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall to the Japanese Garden, part of the arboretum and botanical gardens connecting Smith Hall, the UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning and UVA's North Grounds.

Before his passing earlier this year, Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) sought to spur the renovation of Smith Hall by pledging $7.2 million for a matching challenge. With the renovation underway, the School’s donors are closer to fully unlocking the matching funds. Darden aims to raise an additional $5 million to support the project and honor Smith.

Smith’s son, Anthony Smith (MBA ’87), recently made a gift to the Smith Hall renovation. He wanted to ensure the building honors not only his father but his mother, Phyllis Smith, and his connection to Darden as an alumnus.

He made a planned gift to name two learning team rooms in Smith Hall, naming one after his mother and one after himself and his wife.

“Whether indirectly through her support of my father or directly by hosting his advisees and students at events over the years, many Darden students were touched by my mother as well as my father,” Anthony Smith said. “Elizabeth and I thought we should recognize Mom’s contributions, too. I encourage anyone touched by them to consider taking advantage of this opportunity to give back to Darden.”

An artist's rendering of an upstairs lobby in the renovated C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall.

Jimmy Rose (MBA ’85), who is father to Darden MBAs Caroline Rose (MBA ’19) and Molly Rose (Class of 2022), also recently made a gift to support the renovation. “Much more than a teacher, Ray was a mentor, adviser, confidant and friend to us,” Rose said. “When the opportunity became available to recognize one of the true culture carriers of the Darden experience, I jumped at the chance. It is an honor for me to help make this honor to him possible.”

David Cheek (MBA ’79) also recently made a gift to support the Smith Hall renovation, bringing philanthropic support for the project closer to the finish line. “Through engagement with Dean Scott Beardsley, I am delighted to support the renovation of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall,” said Cheek. “I was particularly motivated to take advantage of the matching funds from Frank Sands Sr., and I encourage my fellow alumni to consider this wonderful opportunity to support Darden and honor C. Ray Smith.”

Gordon Crawford (MBA ’71) was one of the early supporters of the renovation. “One late afternoon on my way to my bartending job at the Boar’s Head Inn, I bumped into C. Ray as I was picking up my cases for that night,” shared Crawford. “He said, ‘You didn’t sign up to see the Capital Group. Call in sick, get a suit on, and I’ll try to have them wait to see you.’ The rest is history. I spent my entire career at Capital. I am eternally grateful to C. Ray for his dedication to me as his student and the way he mentored me to be the best I could be.”

An artist's rendering of a new alumni lounge in the renovated C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall.

Donors who help unlock the match through gifts of $100,000 or more will receive special recognition as sponsors of the project.

For more information, contact interim Vice President of Advancement Samantha Hartog at or +1-434-982-2151.

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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Darden School of Business
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