UVA Darden Unveils Amphitheater, Japanese Garden, Alumni Memorials

By David Buie-Moltz

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business dedicated several additions to the Arboretum & LaCross Botanical Gardens adjacent to The Forum Hotel during Reunion Weekend, showcasing the generosity and spirit of its alumni.

The centerpiece, the Class of 1987 Ampitheather & Outdoor Classroom, features tiered seating suitable for everything from lectures to concerts and was funded by the class’s collective efforts with a lead gift from Robert W. Smith (MBA ’87), a member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and former vice president and portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price Co.

“We always say at Darden that you learn as much from the students as you do from the professors — and so it’s cool that I learned from all of you,” said Smith, addressing his classmates at the dedication. “And so I just want to say thank you, and it’s neat to have this dedicated to our entire class.”

Charlie G. Duffy III (MBA '87) and Dean Scott Beardsley stand beneath the Torri in the Duffy Leahy Japanese Garden. (Photo by J.B. Fitts)

Adjacent to this communal gathering space, the Duffy Leahy Japanese Garden offers a peaceful retreat near the amphitheater and behind C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall. The garden, funded by Charlie G. Duffy III (MBA ’87), reflects Japanese aesthetic and philosophical principles. It includes 17 species of Japanese Maples and features a Torii, an iconic arch traditionally marking the entrance to Shinto shrines. Additionally, Duffy gifted several benches in memory of significant figures in his life, including his sister Ann Duffy Bellows, friend Takako Michii and classmate James B. Windle (MBA ’87).

“I always felt privileged to come to Darden,” said Duffy at the dedication. “This was two years where I was surrounded by the largest group of smart people in my life, so it’s special for me to be here.”

From left, Helen Landel, Professor Emeritus Robert D. Landel, Steven C. Voorhees (MBA ’80) and Celia H. Voorhees sit on the bench dedicated to Professor Emeritus Landel. (Photo by Jack Looney)

The alumni contributions to the Arboretum & LaCross Botanical Gardens continued with the generosity of Steven C. Voorhees (MBA ’80), a member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and former president and CEO of WestRock, and his wife, Celia H. Voorhees. They have gifted several benches honoring significant figures in their lives and the broader Darden community, including their daughter-in-law and son, Wendi Rea and Paul Voorhees (MBA ’14), Dean Scott C. Beardsley, former Darden School Foundation President Michael Woodfolk and Professor Emeritus Robert D. Landel.

During the dedication, Voorhees expressed his gratitude to Landel, saying, “Darden faculty are so significant, and you had more impact on me than any other faculty member, and I appreciate it.”

In a ceremony last year, Darden dedicated another of the Voorhees’ gifts to the Arboretum & LaCross Botanical Gardens, The Connection Bridge, an accessible walkway leading into the space from the Darden Parking Garage.

The Class of 2004 dedicated benches in the Viburnum Garden in memory of Christine Shim Harden (MBA ’04) and Todd Whiting (MBA ’04). The Class of 2009 dedicated a bench in the Jefferson Garden in memory of Brigitte Donner Daws (MBA ’09) and Patricia Woods Varney (MBA ’10)Also in the Jefferson Garden, the Class of 1994 dedicated a tree in memory of Damon DeVito (MBA ’94), who also served as a Darden lecturer, and Beth Batholomew (MBA’89) dedicated a bench to her family. Adjacent to the Magnolia Garden, the Class of 1989 dedicated a tree in memory of Steve Hassett (MBA ’89).

Learn more about dedicating a tree in honor or memory of someone or naming opportunities in the Arboretum & LaCross Botanical Gardens. For tailored guidance, contact Deputy Vice President for Advancement Samantha Hartog at +1-434-981-4025 or HartogS@darden.virginia.edu.

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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