Financial Times Shines Spotlight on Darden’s Forum Hotel

By McGregor McCance

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business this week enjoyed an international media spotlight in an article published by the Financial Times about how the world’s top business schools are investing in hotel-style facilities to enhance their educational experiences.

The article, “Classy rooms: business schools upgrade accommodation,” included interview comments from Darden Dean Scott Beardsley and Roberta Tinch, an Executive Education & Lifelong Learning program participant who is president of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital.

Darden’s Forum Hotel, now in operation for a year, has met and exceeded its founding goals of enhancing the experience of Darden students, providing a setting for more substantial conferences and events, providing world-class facilities to support executive education, and welcoming visitors to the School and UVA.

The Forum is owned by the Darden School Foundation and operated by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

In the Financial Times article, Beardsley said Darden is “not in the business of hotels, but we are in the business of education, so we need to do it properly.”

“The most important part of the project is that it has enhanced our learning experience,” he said.

Tinch said she and other executives studying at Darden appreciate “being able to walk into a space and be comfortable and have a great experience.”

“The Forum is night and day different to what Darden had before,” she said.

The hotel was enabled by a $20 million naming gift in 2019 from Frank Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) and his wife, Marjorie, which inspired more than 100 additional donors.

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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