to right: Edward A. Snyder, Dean, Darden Graduate School of
Business Administration; Bertram Ellis Jr., chairman and chief
executive officer of the Atlanta-based iXL Enterprises; and
Melvyn P. Leffler, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences.
Couple's $10 Million Gift Caps U.Va. Reunions Weekend Celebrations
5, 2000 -- Internet businessman and University alumnus
U. Bertram Ellis Jr, the chairman and chief executive officer of
the Atlanta-based iXL Enterprises, and his wife Deborah Hicks Ellis
have given $10 million to the University of Virginia.
announcing the unrestricted gift today at reunions weekend, University
President John T. Casteen III called the gift "another signal
of the Ellises' commitment to and affection for the University."
Snyder, Bertram Ellis and his wife, Deborah, and Melvyn Leffler
Ellises have been involved in University life and interested in
helping to shape its future since he graduated from the College
of Arts and Sciences in 1975. Last year, he was the chief architect
of the University's "e-summit@virginia,"
helping to bring together almost 100 U.Va. alumni leaders in the
Internet world for a conference in Charlottesville on the impact
of new technology.
and Debbie consistently have given their time, their incredible
energy, and their financial support to University programs during
the past 25 years," Casteen said. "Their gift today sets
the standard for leadership among their generation. We are deeply
grateful for their generosity of spirit."
gift, one of the 10 largest in the University's history, is to be
divided between Ellis's two U.Va. schools, the College
of Arts and Sciences and the Darden
Graduate School of Business Administration, from which he earned
an MBA degree in 1979. He currently serves on the Darden School
Foundation Board of Trustees.
and I have been extremely lucky in our lives. We are committed to
distributing 90 percent of our financial wealth during our lifetimes
to institutions and organizations that have a positive impact on
us, our family, and our communities," Ellis said. "This
gift to U.Va. can help propel the University to even greater heights.
I am honored to have this opportunity to give back."
founded iXL Enterprises (NASDAQ: IIXL), a global company that helps
businesses embrace and take advantage of new technology, in 1996.
IXL Enterprises is the parent company of iXL, Inc. and the Consumer
Financial Network. Earlier, he headed Ellis Communications, a company
that owned and operated 13 television stations, two radio stations,
and the Raycom sports production/marketing firm.
the dean of Arts and Sciences, Melvyn P. Leffler, and the dean of
the Darden School, Edward A. Snyder, said the gift reflected the
couple's interest in academic programs as well as in the aspirations
of all sectors of the University.
gift comes at a pivotal moment in our academic planning," Leffler
said. "Because of their generosity, we will be able to shape
the future of the college with the same emphases that have characterized
Bert's career: remarkable innovation combined with the creative
use of technology. We are striving for national and international
distinction, so the support of private donors -- like Bert and Debbie
Ellis -- makes us believe that these aspirations are possible."
Snyder: "Bert Ellis personifies the Darden mission of developing
professionals who create, lead, and inspire great organizations.
Future Darden students will be even better equipped to lead the
global economy as the result of this extraordinary gift from a very
dynamic and insightful couple."
who also has been involved with a recent series of alumni meetings
to help envision the future of the University, said he chose his
25th reunion to announce his gift to send a message to
fellow alumni about the need to support their alma mater as it sets
a course toward growth and change.
addition to the Ellis gift, Casteen announced a commitment of $2
million from one of his own classmates. Casteen, a 1965 graduate
of Arts and Sciences, said that the anonymous donor had been inspired
by the activities of reunions weekend and requested it for the date
of his announcement. The gift will create a professorship in English
and an unrestricted fund for the dean of Arts & Sciences.
weekend's commitments from alumni classes will be counted in the
Campaign for the University of Virginia, which to date has raised
$1.13 billion, well beyond its $1billion goal.
annual alumni gathering at the University of Virginia has enjoyed
a short but robust history. In the past nine years, the event has
grown from a scant 600 attendees to some 5,000 this year. It now
includes two days of University seminars, athletic events, historic
tours, and receptions.
giving has increased along with attendance, with classes competing
for the coveted award of most generous class. Last year's giving
totals for the weekend reached $4.3 million. This year's numbers
-- from the classes of '55, '60, '65, '70, '75, '80, '85, '90, and
'95 -- are expected to hit $5.7 million, not including the two leadership
gifts announced by Casteen.
Carol Wood (804) 924-6189