Alumnus Frank Sands Makes Darden its Largest Gift Ever

Darden Sands giftImage courtesy of UVA Photo/Andrew Shurtleff

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business announced today it has received the largest gift in its 64-year history. Sands Capital Management founder Frank M. Sands Sr.’s (MBA ’63) new gift of $68 million will move the top-ranked business school forward in several key areas.

The new Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning will enable innovation in the degree, non-degree and online spaces. It will help retain and develop Darden’s world-class faculty. The gift will transform Darden’s educational facilities in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The Darden School was a transformational experience for me, and I am an ardent supporter of its mission and values.”

“I am a big believer in lifelong learning and that learning is enabled by great faculty,” said Sands. “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.”

Matching fund bolsters Sands’ impact

Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63)

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. The Board of Visitors launched the fund in 2017 to attract and retain top faculty and scholars.

Sands’ generosity comes as Darden and the university prepare for the launch of Honor the Future, UVA’s $5 billion campaign.

“Frank M. Sands Sr. and his family are helping propel Darden forward as we enter our third century,” said UVA President Jim Ryan. “This historically generous gift will allow Darden to reach even more students and continue to lead the way in global business education. I am incredibly grateful to Frank and the entire Sands family for their vision and generosity.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the Sands’ longstanding support and this incredible new gift,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “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.”

New Institute Catalyzes Business Education Innovation, Establishes Professorships and Revitalizes Darden Facilities

The $82 million in funding will transform Darden in various ways:

  • 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. The Institute will empower faculty to innovate courses, curricula and programs to meet leaders at all stages of their careers.
  • A $35 million Sands Professorship Fund. The fund will support 12 new faculty chairs to bolster excellence and innovation in pedagogy. Four distinguished professorship chairs will honor of Darden professors with a legacy of exceptional teaching and commitment to the School:
    • John Forbes, the Darden School’s first professor, who died in 2018 at age 107
    • Bob Landel, who teaches operations and retired this year after nearly 50 years of teaching
    • Yiorgos Allayannis, a finance professor and master teacher of the case method
    • Dean Emeritus and University Professor Bob Bruner, who served as dean from 2005 to 2015
      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.
  • A $7 million fund for the C. Ray Smith Alumni Hall

Sands’ gift builds on previous joint donation

This gift builds on the $5 million he and his son Frank Sands made to build Darden’s new campus in the Rosslyn district of Arlington, Virginia.  The UVA Darden Sands Family Grounds opened in March 2018.

“Frank sets an incredible example for all Darden alumni,” said Elizabeth Weymouth, chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are inspired by his generosity and beyond grateful.”

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