Robert Blair’s contributions
p. To the Editor:
p. As long-time friends, colleagues and classmates of Robert Blair, we were saddened by his recent decision to resign from the College’s Board of Visitors. We recognize that his decision was based on his strongly held belief that the process and subsequent discussion of the BOV’s decision to not renew former President Gene Nichol’s contract was incompatible with his sense of fairness and personal integrity. While we respect his decision, we know that the College family will miss his enthusiastic leadership and unquestioned commitment to the College.
p. Blair’s loyalty and dedication to the College have spanned almost 45 years. As the 11th of 13 children, he paid for his education through a partial scholarship to play tennis and through numerous on-campus jobs. He still found time to serve as president of the Class of 1968. Subsequently, he chaired five class reunions and two class reunion gift committees, efforts that raised record-breaking gifts for the 35th class reunion and established faculty recognition awards.
p. Additional contributions include his 12-year leadership on the Board of Advisors of the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy. The College community recognizes Blair’s outstanding ability to use his love for the College to successfully coax others into donating their time and money. But his contributions far exceed fundraising. Most of us are members of the BOA due to his very persuasive recruiting efforts. It is virtually impossible to say no when Blair asks you to give back to the College.
p. In 2005, the College recognized Blair’s outstanding service by awarding him an alumni medallion, the highest award given by the Alumni Association. As this well-deserved award demonstrates, Blair’s interest in the well-being of the College spans decades; it is not a new interest arriving with the internet or based on possible future College contributions.
p. It is unfortunate for the entire College community to lose Blair as a member of the BOV. The College needs people with his vision, integrity and leadership to ensure that the College remains one of America’s finest public universities serving all of the citizens of Virginia. We hope and trust that the College finds new ways to keep Blair involved in building a strong future.
p. — Robert Cline ’68, Andy Purdy ’73, Robert Trice ’68, Marilyn Gowing ’70, George Stohner ’68, Brad Davis ’68, H. Edward Mann ’77