U.Va. receives largest donation in its history

    __Former William and Mary BOV member gives $100 million__

    Former College Board of Visitors member Frank Batten donated $100 million to the University of Virginia, President John T. Casteen III, announced Thursday, April 12.

    p. The donation, the largest in U.Va.’s history, will fund the establishment of a school of leadership and public policy.
    The school, named the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, has been in the planning stages for several years, according to a U.Va. Today article. Once completed, the school will provide leadership training, comprehensive research opportunities on public issues and training through public outreach programs.

    p. “[The donation] has a kind of influence by way of implication for what our university will be in the future, and that influence is profound,” Casteen said. “The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will enable scholars, students, visitors, others who come here to address critical policy issues that affect Virginia, the nation and the world.”

    p. The school is expected to enroll approximately 390 students, 225 from the undergraduate community and 165 from the graduate community. Although relatively small in size, the school will have 18 full-time faculty members and its own dean. It is slated to open in the fall of 2009.

    p. Batten, a Norfolk native, earned his undergraduate degree at U.Va. before pursuing an MBA at Harvard University. He became chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications in 1967.
    He also worked as chairman of The Associated Press from 1982 to 1987, and served as the first rector of Old Dominion University. He served as a BOV member for the College and received an honorary degree in 1996.

    p. Batten has contributed greatly to the College. According to the College’s Office of University Relations website, he established the Batten Foundation Undergraduate Research Scholarship in 1992. He also funded an endowment for the MBA program at the College’s Mason School of Business.

    p. “This is wonderful news for the university,” U.Va. Provost Gene Block said. “This is a program that enjoys broad support from faculty, administration, deans, and we believe it will become one of the leading programs in the United States to train the next generation of leaders for the public sector.”

    p. Batten echoed these thoughts.

    p. “Never has there been a greater need for the university’s most important product: enlightened and ethical leaders who leave the grounds prepared for public life — in their communities, in their professions, in the world at large,” he said. “I hope and expect that this new school will flourish at the university.”


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