Million Gift From Alumnus Paul Tudor Jones Puts U.Va. Basketball
Arena Project On The Fast Track
October 29, 2001--
of Virginia alumnus Paul Tudor Jones II, a Connecticut businessman
and philanthropist, has pledged $20 million to his alma mater.
gift, a 10-year pledge to the U.Va. Department of Athletics, will
allow the department to fast track a new basketball arena project,
moving it quickly through the final planning stages to groundbreaking.
announcement, made today by University President John T. Casteen
III, 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, 'Let's get
things moving.' His gift pushes us much closer to doing exactly
that, and will bring completion of the project nearer than we had
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
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
University's national reputation."
also looks at the need for a more modern facility through personal
experience. "As my daughters have gotten older and I've 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 children under 11. "It doesn't make
a difference if you're a player or a fan. Athletic activity and
competition are absolutely essential for everyone's health and mental
University of Virginia students deserve a better
arena. It's long overdue. "
said that he and President 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 Charlottesville/Albemarle community.
arena to replace University Hall has been a point of discussion
for almost two decades. In October 1998, the University's Board
of Visitors authorized strategic planning for the new arena, envisioned
as a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility. This 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 between 12,000 and 15,000 seats, approximately 20 luxury
suites, practice courts, athletics department offices, and an adjacent
1,500-car parking garage.
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 today's undergraduate population of 12,500. And there
were only a handful of women students - and no women's athletics
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. (Robin
Hood recently raised $50 million for victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy
through a much-publicized rock concert that featured among its headliners
Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.)
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.
Rich Murray, (434) 982-5530, Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189