Darden Gets Largest Gift Ever: $68 Million

Darden MBA Profile Image 1

UVA’s Darden School of Business

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia today (May 23) announced that it has received a massive $68 million gift, the largest in its history from an already generous MBA alum who graduated from the school in 1963. Frank M. Sands Sr., the now-retired founder of Sands Capital Management, made the pledge which also honors his late wife, Marjorie R. Sands, a lifelong educator.

The gift comes on the heels of his earlier $5 million joint donation made with his son, Frank Sands, who is now CEO and Chief Investment Officer of the firm he founded and graduated from Darden with his MBA in 1994. That gift helped to fund the school’s new campus in the Rosslyn district of Arlington, Virginia, which opened in March 2018.

The new $68 million gift, exceeding by $6 million the 1999 $62 million pledge to Darden by Frank Batten, immediately puts Sands among the top 15 donors to business schools ever. Combined with University matching funds, Sands’ gift delivers $82 million in total impact. That includes the $68 million new gift and $14 million in matching funds from UVA’s Bicentennial Professors Fund, which was launched by the Board of Visitors in 2017 to help the University attract and retain top faculty and scholars.


Frank M. Sands Sr.

“The Darden School was a transformational experience for me, and I am an ardent supporter of its mission and values,” said Sands in a statement. “I am a big believer in lifelong learning and that learning is enabled by great faculty. I hope this gift will inspire others to give and hope that the School will continue to be a true force for good in the free markets and broader world.”

The gift is expected to help transform Darden’s educational facilities in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school is naming in the donor’s honor a new Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning that Darden said will enable innovation in the degree, non-degree and online spaces. Funds also will be in support of retaining and developing the school’s faculty.

“We are humbled and grateful for the Sands’ longstanding support and this incredible new gift,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley in a news release announcing the gift. “Frank and his family continue the legacy of the School’s founders to propel the Darden School toward reaching the full potential of its mission to improve the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences.”

Dean Beardsley is proving a highly effective fundraiser. Besides this latest gift, the school raised more than $40.6 million in new commitments in fiscal 2018, its second consecutive record-breaking fundraising year. Not including Sands’ latest gift, Beardsley had generated nearly $180 million in new commitments and matching funds since the former McKinsey & Co. partner arrived at Darden as dean less than four years ago.


Sands’ generosity comes as Darden and the University of Virginia prepare for the public launch of Honor the Future, a $5 billion university-wide campaign. The school said that the combined $82 million in funding will be used for a variety of initiatives:

  • A $20 million endowment for the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning will determine best practices for teaching lifelong learners and working executives in both degree and non-degree programs, whether face-to-face in the classroom, online or through novel delivery methods. The gift includes an investment in Darden’s portfolio of online courses that will extend Darden’s reach and impact globally. A resource for the UVA community and beyond, the Sands Institute will empower School faculty to redesign and innovate learning courses, curricula, and programs — designed to meet leaders at all stages of their careers.
  • A $35 million Sands Professorship Fund, comprised of a $21 million donation from Sands plus $14 million in matching funds from the Bicentennial Professors Fund, will support the School’s faculty who deliver degree programs. The fund will support 12 new faculty chairs to bolster excellence and innovation in pedagogy and engagement with practice, including case writing and course and program development. Four distinguished professorship chairs will be created in honor of Darden professors with a legacy of exceptional teaching and commitment to the School for former Dean Robert Bruner, finance professor Yiorgos Allayannis, retired operations professor Bob Landel, and the school’s first professor, John Forbes, who died last year at the age of 107.

An additional eight emerging scholar chairs, called the Sands Professorships, will enable Darden to recruit and develop top faculty as the next generation of master teachers and scholars.

  • A $20 million fund for the construction of the new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning in Charlottesville will jumpstart the estimated $90 million project, which the School announced in April. Upon completion and pending Board of Visitors approval, the inn will be named the Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning. Construction of the projected 199-room hotel and conference center, which will feature a five-acre arboretum and will connect Darden and UVA’s School of Law, is expected to begin in 2020.
  • A $7 million fund for the C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall will enable the renovation of the building, which is adjacent to today’s Inn at Darden and named in honor of Dean Emeritus C. Ray Smith (MBA ’58), who mentored Sands.

Largest Gifts To Business Schools


School Amount Donor Year
Chicago’s Booth School of Business $300 million David Booth 1997
Michigan’s Ross School of Business $200 million Stephen Ross 2004, 2013
Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business $150 million H. Fisk Johnson 2017
Stanford Graduate School of Business $150 million Robert & Dorothy King 2011
UCLA Anderson School of Management $142 million John & Marion Anderson 1987, 2011, 2015
Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business $122 million David Tepper 2004, 2013
Stanford Graduate School of Business $105 million Philip Knight 2006
UC-San Diego $100 million Ernest Rady 2015
Florida State College of Business $100 million Jim Moran 2015
Columbia Business School $100 million Ronald Perelman 2013
Columbia Business School $100 million Henry Kravis 2010
Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business $100 million Jay Shidler 2006 to 2014
Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School $80 million David Atkinson 2010
Florida’s Warrington College of Business $75 million Al & Judy Warrington 2014
Virginia’s Darden School of Business $73 million Frank Sands Sr. 2019, 2017
Virginia’s Darden School of Business $62 million Frank Batten 1999
Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School $60 million Richard D’Amore & Alan McKim 2012
Thunderbird School of Management $60 million Sam & Rita Garvin 2004
Tel Aviv (Coller) $100 million Jeremy Coller 2016
Boston University’s Questrom School $50 million Allen & Kelli Questrom 2015
Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business $50 million Jim Haslam & family 2014
Georgia Tech’s Scheller College $50 million Ernest Scheller 2012
Harvard Business School $50 million Tata Group 2010
Yale School of Management $50 million Ned Evans 2010
Arizona State’s Carey School of Business $50 million William Carey 2003
Texas’ McCombs School of Business $50 million Red McCombs 2000
Arkansas’ Walton College of Business $50 million The Walton Family 1998

Source: AACSB


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