gift ever to a graduate business school
Alumnus Frank Batten Sr. gives $60 million to Darden for entrepreneurial
By Phillip Giaramita
Darden Graduate School of Business Administration has received
the largest gift ever contributed to a business school. The $60
million gift is from University alumnus Frank Batten Sr., the
retired chairman of Landmark Communications Inc., an international
media company whose broad holdings in electronic and print media
include The Weather Channel in Atlanta and The Virginian-Pilot
today by Darden School Dean Edward A. Snyder, Batten's gift propelled
for the University beyond its $1 billion goal. The Batten
gift brings Darden's campaign total to $182 million, well above
its goal of $100 million, and increases the school's endowment
by 37 percent.
Darden's programs in entrepreneurial leadership, Batten's gift
will have far-reaching economic impact in the United States and
abroad, Snyder said. "It provides the resources to allow
the school to be a powerful agent for the development of new sources
and methods of value creation."
foundational center of those resources will be the Batten Institute,
which becomes operational Jan. 1. The Institute succeeds the Batten
Center, established early in the campaign with a $13.5 million
challenge gift from Batten and his family, and will build on its
successes. Funds from the gift already have been earmarked for
five new endowed professorships,
a 60 percent increase in endowed scholarship resources,
a fellows program to bring corporate executives to the school,
a venture capital fund to allow students and faculty to test
entrepreneurial principles in real-world situations.
also will create an office in Northern Virginia that will offer
a broad array of programs to entrepreneurial firms a region that
Snyder calls "the nation's hotbed of innovation."
1950 graduate of the University's College
of Arts and Sciences and a long-time benefactor of the Darden
School, Batten said his aim in making this gift is "to challenge
and enable Darden to become a global leader in the new entrepreneurial
in firms both large and small are the drivers of innovation and
economic growth, and they are providing America with a powerful
competitive advantage," Batten observed. "Darden now
has the resources to become a world-class educator and knowledge
resource for the entrepreneurial economy. Thomas Jefferson, himself
an inventor and entrepreneur, would have insisted on nothing less."
out that new businesses are creating more than a million jobs
a year and that the nation will set a record of more than $50
billion in initial public offerings in 1999, Snyder said the region
stretching from Baltimore to Charlotte, N.C., is superbly positioned
to be the spine of the nation's most intense entrepreneurial activity.
"should be its heart," he said. "We can do this
by leveraging Darden's leadership on such transformational business
issues as diversity, innovation, e-business, strategic alliances
and sustainability, and by tapping the expertise resident in other
schools throughout the University."
new Batten Institute will set out to multiply the achievements
of the Batten Center, including the Charlottesville Venture Forum
as well as other similar programs that bring together entrepreneurs
and venture capital firms. The Center also publishes the Journal
of Business Venturing, an authoritative research journal that
focuses on the fields of entrepreneurship, new business development,
technology and innovation.
"It is fitting that the University has reached its milestone
as the result of such a remarkable gift from Frank Batten,"
said U.Va. President
John T. Casteen III. "Our campaign had an historic beginning
-- the Clifton Waller Barrett library of American rare books and
manuscripts -- that established the University as a premier center
for the study of American literature. We have surpassed the $1
billion mark with Mr. Batten's equally revolutionary endowment
that will recast business education. We are deeply grateful for
Mr. Batten's vision, his leadership and this extraordinary vote
of confidence in our faculty and in our students."
said Darden will begin an international search for a leader of
the Batten Institute, who will work with the "outstanding
team already in place." The institute's board of directors
will include Batten's son, Frank Batten Jr., an '84 Darden graduate
and current chair of Landmark Communications.