The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the new Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship program. A $15 million gift from the Batten Foundation unlocked a matching gift from UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund, and the resulting $30 million endowment will ultimately provide every student in Darden’s full-time MBA program a scholarship to attend a Darden Worldwide course at no incremental cost.
In recent years, Darden has significantly increased its offering of Darden Worldwide courses — faculty-led courses of typically seven to 10 days. Over the past two years, student participation in courses outside the U.S. has more than doubled.
During the courses, students visit local companies, educators and officials, gaining hands-on experiences in new business environments and cultures guided by a Darden faculty member.
This spring, students will have the option to choose from 14 courses on five continents, including courses exploring business in uncertain economic environments in Argentina, artificial intelligence and robotics in Germany, and government’s influence on business in China, among others.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Batten Foundation for enabling this game-changing opportunity, which positions Darden to provide each MBA student funding for a global course through a scholarship,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley.
“This gift will have a major impact on Darden. It makes the School more affordable and global, and gives students the opportunity to explore the world in which they will be tomorrow’s leaders.”
The gift makes Darden unique among top MBA programs in its ability to offer each student a global experience fully funded by philanthropy.
The Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarships will have an immediate impact for the MBA Class of 2020, which will arrive in August 2018. For these incoming students, the gift, combined with other philanthropy and Darden investment, will allow Darden to award a scholarship to every student in the class that will cover fees for a Darden Worldwide course, if the course is not already funded.
When the Batten Foundation gift is fully funded in 2020, the scholarships will cover course fees and most travel costs for every Darden full-time MBA student to participate in a global experience.
The gift is the largest gift to the Darden School since the Batten family established the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation through a $60 million gift in 1999.
“The University of Virginia is committed to the intertwined principles of excellence and affordability,” UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan said when announcing the gift. “Darden fully embraces these principles, and with an infusion of energy from this generous philanthropic gift, Darden can continue to pursue its mission of preparing students from all walks of life for global leadership and service.”