Darden Students, Faculty and Grounds to Benefit From $40.5 Million in New Commitments, Record Number of Major Gifts

By Tom van der Voort

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business announced another strong year for fundraising, with $40.5 million in new commitments and a record number of major gifts. The School ended fiscal year 2022 with 50 gifts of more than $100,000, 17 of which came from first-time major donors.

Two students walking and talking“Darden’s donors have once again delivered a significant year of philanthropy,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “And beyond the impressive numbers are the students, faculty, staff and alumni who will benefit. Darden aspires to be a preeminent business school built on excellence, and I am deeply thankful for the generosity that makes such incredible impact possible. As always, there is more to accomplish, and the ongoing collaboration of everyone in the Darden community enables us to shape the future of graduate business education across the world. This commitment is truly inspirational.”

"The ongoing collaboration of everyone in the Darden community enables us to shape the future of graduate business education across the world."
Dean Scott Beardsley

Contributors offered significant support for student excellence, with $11 million in scholarships through the Darden School and University of Virginia Darden School Foundation. Of the total, $2.3 million went to Foundation scholarships for women, and the Classes of 1996 and 2002 each established Foundation scholarships for inclusive excellence.

Darden professor in classroomDarden’s top-rated faculty benefitted from several new commitments. Donors added $1 million to the Robert F. Bruner Fund for Faculty Excellence. They also created new funds to honor Darden faculty legends Marian Chapman Moore and Gregory B. Fairchild along with Senior Associate Director of Admissions Cheryl Jones, a pioneer in attracting military veterans to Darden. Donors further invested in the Institute for Business in Society, John Glynn VC Initiative Fund and the new Real Estate Initiative, the last two via the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management. More than one-third of the campaign’s fundraising for endowment has been for faculty.

The Darden Grounds, a critical part of the Darden experience, are in the midst of a fundamental transformation. This year, donors contributed more than $13 million toward the new hotel, arboretum and botanical gardens currently under construction. Only $13 million is now required to reach the $75 million project goal. A highlight was the completion of the fundraising — leveraging the match of the late Frank Sands Sr. — for the renovation of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall, thanks to an anonymous $5 million gift. These major projects will be finished in 2023, with Kimpton Hotels to serve as the operator of the hotel and conference center.

"These contributions will allow our students, faculty, staff and alumni to experience the best of what Darden has to offer."
Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88)

“The School is stepping up to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow by transforming business education to enable our graduates to serve companies, countries and the world,” said Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88), chair of the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. “Darden is defined by our focus on an innovative and rigorous education, insightful research, inclusive community and enduring relationships. These contributions will allow our students, faculty, staff and alumni to experience the best of what Darden has to offer.”

students walking and talking“This year’s donors deserve our utmost thanks for helping us deliver truly transformational learning experiences to talented and committed students from all over the world,” added Michael Woodfolk (TEP ’05), president of the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation. “By embracing challenges and opportunities together, as we have done this year, we enable Darden to shape a better future.”

Fiscal Year 2022 Fundraising Highlights

  • $40.5 million in new commitments, the third best year in the Powered by Purpose campaign and fourth best fundraising year ever
  • Total campaign funds raised and credited to Darden reached $374 million, 93.5 percent of the way to the first $400 million milestone, with three years to go. Including matching money and gifts to other foundations in support of Darden, the total impact of the campaign to date for Darden is $467 million
  • 50 major gifts of more than $100,000, a Darden record, with 17 first-time major donors
  • $5.7 million raised by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation for the Darden Annual Fund to support scholarships; faculty excellence; global impact; diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and areas of greatest need
  • More than $650,000 raised in a single Day for Darden
  • Thirteen new members joined the Principal Donors Society, which recognizes donors at the $1 million and above level
  • $5 million in new Planned Giving commitments
  • $11.6 million in contributions from alumni who celebrated a Darden reunion, an increase of 19 percent over the annual average during the last five years
  • More than $400,000 in gifts and commitments from the Class of 2022
  • An anonymous $5 million gift to complete the fundraising for Smith Hall
"Including matching money and gifts to other foundations in support of Darden, the total impact of the campaign to date is $467 million."

Reunions & Returning to Grounds

Lem Lewis delivers a speech

Lem Lewis (MBA ’72) received the 2022 Charles C. Abbott Award

This year’s Darden Reunion was a powerful reminder of the strength of the Darden community and the power of place in the Darden experience. More than 1,000 alumni attendees and 600 guests set a new record for attendance at the event. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Darden not only celebrated Classes ending in 2s and 7s but also offered reunion gatherings for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Other highlights include:

  • Four new scholarships from the Classes of 1996, 1997, 2002 and 2020, with over $1.6 million in gifts and commitments
  • $500,000 to name the outdoor amphitheater in honor of Class of 1987
  • Alumni, friends and family celebrated the life of Professor John Colley at Old Cabell Hall
  • Lem Lewis (MBA ’72) received the 2022 Charles C. Abbott Award, the highest honor the School bestows upon its graduates
  • Three make-up milestone reunions: The Classes of 1971 (50th) and 1996 (25th) in the fall and the Class of 1970 (50th) in May

Hotel, Arboretum and Botanical Gardens Near Completion

Rendering of Kimpton hotel

The new boutique hotel will be owned by the Darden School Foundation and operated by Kimpton

Thanks to donors’ support, a new boutique hotel and conference center and adjacent arboretum and botanical gardens are rising at Darden. Slated to open in 2023, these new facilities will usher in a new era at the School. They will serve as the center of the Darden School Foundation’s Executive Education and Lifelong Learning programs, be the home to the Executive MBA, Part-time MBA and MSBA programs when on Grounds in Charlottesville, and provide academic, hospitality and social gathering spaces for the full-time residential MBA program and all faculty and staff.  All net contributions from the project will support the mission of the School. In addition, the spaces will be open to all, offering the entire University of Virginia and Charlottesville communities a place for social, spiritual, and educational growth and wellness.

Donors also powered the renovation of C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall, which will be complete in 2023. Specific philanthropic impact related to the Darden Grounds included:

  • $13.3 million in donations for the hotel and conference center, arboretum and botanical gardens; less than $13 million remains to complete fundraising
  • Naming gifts for the tiered classroom, Japanese Garden, outdoor classroom amphitheater, Thomas Jefferson Garden, three hotel suites, and several bridges, benches and trees
  • A gift from The Executive Program (TEP) Class of 2022 to name a bridge in the arboretum
  • A new Plant-a-Tree at Darden naming opportunity for 1,300 trees in the new arboretum and botanical gardens

Contact Interim Vice President for Advancement Samantha Hartog at HartogS@darden.virginia.edu or +1-434-982-2151 for more information on supporting the Darden School’s Powered by Purpose campaign.

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