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.

‘DARDEN WAS A TRANSFORMATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME’

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.

GIFT WILL HELP FUND A LARGE NUMBER OF INITIATIVES AT DARDEN

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

 

SchoolAmountDonorYear
Chicago’s Booth School of Business$300 millionDavid Booth1997
Michigan’s Ross School of Business$200 millionStephen Ross2004, 2013
Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business$150 millionH. Fisk Johnson2017
Stanford Graduate School of Business$150 millionRobert & Dorothy King2011
UCLA Anderson School of Management$142 millionJohn & Marion Anderson1987, 2011, 2015
Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business$122 millionDavid Tepper2004, 2013
Stanford Graduate School of Business$105 millionPhilip Knight2006
UC-San Diego$100 millionErnest Rady2015
Florida State College of Business$100 millionJim Moran2015
Columbia Business School$100 millionRonald Perelman2013
Columbia Business School$100 millionHenry Kravis2010
Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business$100 millionJay Shidler2006 to 2014
Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School$80 millionDavid Atkinson2010
Florida’s Warrington College of Business$75 millionAl & Judy Warrington2014
Virginia’s Darden School of Business$73 millionFrank Sands Sr.2019, 2017
Virginia’s Darden School of Business$62 millionFrank Batten1999
Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School$60 millionRichard D’Amore & Alan McKim2012
Thunderbird School of Management$60 millionSam & Rita Garvin2004
Tel Aviv (Coller)$100 millionJeremy Coller2016
Boston University’s Questrom School$50 millionAllen & Kelli Questrom2015
Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business$50 millionJim Haslam & family2014
Georgia Tech’s Scheller College$50 millionErnest Scheller2012
Harvard Business School$50 millionTata Group2010
Yale School of Management$50 millionNed Evans2010
Arizona State’s Carey School of Business$50 millionWilliam Carey2003
Texas’ McCombs School of Business$50 millionRed McCombs2000
Arkansas’ Walton College of Business$50 millionThe Walton Family1998

Source: AACSB

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About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder of C-Change Media, a global digital media company of higher education content. C-Change now has five websites, including Poets&Quants, and the author or co-author of more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers, and is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, and editor-in-chief of Fast Company. He also is the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools.