Skip to Content

Convocation Speaker

Fall Convocation Will Feature Nationally Recognized Darden Professorteresa_sullivan photo

July 14, 2015 —Gregory Fairchild, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business known for his research on entrepreneurship and emerging markets, will speak at U.Va.’s Fall Convocation on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena.

The annual ceremony awards Intermediate Honors to the top 20 percent of third-year undergraduate students who have finished at least 60 hours of coursework, and honors recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Awards, the highest distinction of service and scholarship awarded by the University. Convocation also marks the beginning of U.Va.’s annual Family Weekend.

Fairchild has been repeatedly ranked among the world’s top business school professors. A Darden graduate, he returned to his alma mater to teach in 2000 and now serves as the E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of Business Administration, teaching strategic management, entrepreneurship and ethics.

Fairchild’s work focuses on using business principles to improve high-risk communities in emerging domestic markets. He is the academic director of the Institute for Business in Society, which helps corporations, policymakers and business students generate positive social impact through business roles.

He recently led a study of business models and public policy issues for community development finance, supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also serves as a public director of the U.Va. Physician’s Group and as a director of the community development organization Virginia Community Capital, appointed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe this year.

Each year, Fairchild leads a group of M.B.A. students in the Darden Prison Program, taking them into local prisons to teach inmates entrepreneurship and prepare them to rejoin the business world. The effort is part of Resilience Education, an organization that Fairchild founded with his wife and fellow Darden graduate, Tierney Temple Fairchild, to provide high-quality Socratic education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Fairchild has received a number of accolades for his work. In 2010, the Financial Times recognized him as one of five high-impact research professors and the only one focused on entrepreneurship. In 2009, he received a faculty Pioneer Award from the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education honoring his leadership and risk-taking in integrating ethical, environmental and social issues into the M.B.A. curriculum.

Fairchild has been named one of “25 Virginians to Watch” by Virginia Business Magazine, one of the top 10 business school professors in the world by CNN and Fortune, and one of the 50 best business school professors by Poets and Quants. His work has been featured in media outlets, including Inc. magazine, The Economist, National Public Radio, USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He was also featured in David Guggenheim’s documentary, “Spent: Looking for Change,” which detailed the plight of millions of Americans unable to access basic financial resources.

Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Fairchild worked in marketing roles for top companies, including Kraft General Foods, Proctor & Gamble and Saks Fifth Avenue. He remains an in-demand consultant for multinational corporations, nonprofits and government agencies.

U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan invites all faculty members not in classes or meetings to participate in the academic procession and ceremony at Fall Convocation. Academic dress is not required, but regalia can be rented prior to Sept. 25 through the University Bookstore at 434-924-3721.

Nominations for the 2015 Thomas Jefferson Awards are to be submitted by noon on Sept. 18. For information, visit the Fall Convocation website or call 434-982-3099.

U.Va. Media Relations, Caroline Newman

View archives of previous Convocation speakers.