Tudor Jones II
$20 million gift puts arena project on fast track
By Carol Wood
University alumnus Paul Tudor Jones II, coaching his daughters
youth basketball team drove home the message that athletics are
absolutely essential for everyones health and mental well-being.
who has supported U.Va. academic initiatives in the past, decided
it was time to make a difference somewhere new. On Monday, U.Va.
T. Casteen III announced that Jones had pledged $20 million to
gift, a 10-year pledge, will allow the department to fast-track
a basketball arena project, moving it quickly through the final
planning stages to groundbreaking. The announcement comes just
four months after an anonymous donor pledged an initial $20 million
that allowed the University to proceed with plans for the $125
million, 12,000- to 15,000-seat arena.
Tudor Jones came forward with his customary generosity and business-like
approach, Casteen said. Paul has said more than once,
Lets get things moving. His gift pushes us much
closer to doing exactly that, and will bring completion of the
project nearer than we had earlier imagined.
many years he has helped to move the University forward in academics,
and now he is doing the same for athletics. All of us at the University
of Virginia are grateful to Paul for both his generosity
and his unfailingly energetic support.
47, who graduated from U.Va. in 1976 with a degree in economics,
is chairman of the Tudor Group in Greenwich, Conn., the money
management firm he founded in the 1980s.
graduating, he has continued to lend his support to the University
that he said helped him develop a sense of personal honor.
I love the University of Virginia and everything about
the way of life there.
dedication reaches all corners of the University. From his
early backing of the Jefferson Scholars Program to his support
of programs in business, finance and the environmental sciences.
U.Va. President John T. Casteen III
is the first time Jones has made a gift to the athletics department.
But as a loyal U.Va. basketball fan from his student days to the
present, he was one of the first alumni to strongly voice the
need for a new arena to replace the aging University Hall and
has been a driving force on the project ever since. He earlier
provided funding that let the University engage architects and
begin to conceptualize the future facility that he believes will
be in keeping with the Universitys national reputation.
also looks at the need for a more modern facility through personal
experience. As my daughters have gotten older and Ive
had the opportunity to coach them as 9- and 10-year-olds in youth
basketball leagues, the importance of team spirit and competition
in their character development has really hit home with me and
my wife Sonia, said Jones, the father of four.
said that he and Casteen spent some time discussing the ramifications
of the Sept. 11 national tragedy on his gift. After much
reflection and having been transfixed like so many in the
nation by the horrors that occurred I became convinced,
now more than ever, of the importance of pushing ahead with construction
and giving the University community a recreational facility and
gathering space consistent with our national stature. (University
Hall, currently the largest venue at the University, is not air-conditioned
and lacks the features of a modern, high-tech convocation center.)
believes that Jones thoughtful analysis, as well as his
previous gifts to the University and elsewhere set
the tone for this fundraising campaign. His dedication reaches
all corners of the University. From his early backing of the Jefferson
Scholars Program to his support of programs in business, finance
and the environmental sciences, Casteen said, Paul
always has been a leader.
is helping to finance construction of a 45,000-square-foot research
addition to environmental sciences Clark Hall with a $10
million challenge gift. With an earlier gift, he endowed a research
professorship shared by the Darden Graduate School of Business
Administration and the McIntire School of Commerce.
Jones has a vision for the future of the University that speaks
to the total student experience, including both academics and
athletics, said Craig K. Littlepage, director of athletics.
His gift allows us to take a step toward creating the type
of facility that will further distinguish our basketball programs
as national powers. At the same time, the new arena will bring
together students, faculty, staff, and local fans for basketball
contests, concerts and numerous special events. Littlepage
said that he sees the arena as place to forge connections within
the University community, as well with members of the local community.
arena to replace University Hall has been a point of discussion
for almost two decades. In October 1998, the Universitys
Board of Visitors authorized strategic planning for the new arena,
envisioned as a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility.
past spring, the board included the project in the six-year capital
outlay plan submitted to the state, and earlier this year it selected
architects for the project.
new facility to be designed by VMDO Architects of Charlottesville
in association with Ellerbe Becket of Kansas City, Missouri
will include approximately 20 luxury suites, practice courts,
athletics department offices and an adjacent 1,500-car parking
for completion by the fall of 2006, the new arena will be located
on Massie Road across from University Hall, the 36-year-old building
it will replace. U-Hall is the smallest basketball stadium in
the Atlantic Coast Conference, and long has faced criticism for
its size and its design. When U-Hall was completed in 1965, the
facility had far fewer demands on it. There were only 4,528 undergraduates
as opposed to todays undergraduate population of 12,500.
And there were only a handful of women students and no
womens athletics teams.
U-Hall would be economically unfeasible, because the roof would
have to be removed in order to add more seats, an earlier study
concluded. No decision has yet been made on future uses for U-Hall.
Clearly, Jones said, U-Hall could provide much-needed
additional recreational space for students, faculty, and alumni
in the future.
the University and business communities, Paul Tudor Jones is probably
best known as the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, a 14-year-old
organization dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City.
the majority of his philanthropic efforts are directed to education
and people in need, Jones also is an ardent conservationist and
serves on the boards of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
and the Everglades Foundation, which he also helped found.