commitment to U.Va. becomes lasting legacy
$64 Million Gift From Harrison Estate To Endow Professorships In
Law And Medicine / $50 Million Trust To Ensure Future Aspirations
Oct. 4, 2002--
late David A. Harrison III of Hopewell, one of the University of
Virginia’s most loyal and generous alumni during his lifetime,
has made an even greater impact on the institution through his estate.
A retired lawyer,
investment banker and farmer, Harrison died June 8 at the age of
85. Recent distributions from his estate and a previously established
trust have provided the University with $64 million, most of it
directed toward endowed professorships in the schools of law and
medicine. The Virginia athletics program and the University Library
also will benefit from the estate’s provisions.
Harrison created an irrevocable trust in excess of $50 million,
which will come to the University in 25 years. With these new gifts,
contributions to the University made by Harrison and his late wife,
Mary, total more than $150 million.
again, David Harrison’s generosity has made its imprint on
the University in ways both profound and long-lasting,” said
University President John T. Casteen III. “Through this forward-looking
gift, he has strengthened immeasurably the schools and programs
that were always closest to his heart—law, medicine, athletics,
and the study of our nation and its people.
David’s great gifts was his ability to take the long view,”
Casteen continued. “His vision encompassed outcomes not just
months or years ahead but decades into the future. His long-range
goal was always to make the areas he benefited the best they can
possibly be. This gift will enable us to fulfill his bold aspirations
for the University.”
by Harrison, who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University
in 1939 and a law degree in 1941, $34.8 million of the gift will
endow professorships in the School of Law. The new Harrison chairs
will be funded at a level competitive with the most prestigious
academic positions in the nation, according to John C. Jeffries
Jr., dean of the Law School.
Harrison was a visionary benefactor. We shall honor his vision and
his leadership by using his bequest to build and retain the best
law faculty in the nation,” said Jeffries. “In accordance
with his wish, the chairs will be reserved for persons of exceptional
distinction who, as he said, 'not only possess an appropriate dedication
to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields, but
whose foremost attribute is a demonstrated interest in and talent
for the teaching of students.'"
gift provides $20.3 million for faculty support in the School of
Medicine, which will use the funds to endow professorships in areas
where they will have the greatest impact. The school also will endow
a new Harrison Scholars fund, which will reward faculty members
judged by their peers to be the best teachers.
overwhelming generosity will allow us to attract and retain some
of the most accomplished medical faculty in the nation,” said
Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., dean of the School of Medicine. “By
bringing gifted faculty into our classrooms, laboratories, and clinics,
we fulfill our mission to our students to advance medical knowledge,
and to our patients from across the Commonwealth to provide the
highest quality of care.”
Over the years,
Mary and David Harrison established a number of professorships in
law, medicine, and archaeology. David Harrison also made possible
the Harrison Research Awards, which provide grants to undergraduates
for independent scholarly projects. Harrison helped to support expansion
and renovation of the Law School’s facilities, named the David
A. Harrison III Law Grounds in his honor, and his gifts to athletics
funded such improvements as David A. Harrison III Field, the grass
playing surface at Scott Stadium.
generosity in supporting intercollegiate athletics has been a key
component in providing high quality facilities here at U.Va.,"
said Craig Littlepage, director of athletics. The Harrison estate
gift includes $5.8 million that will be used to improve facilities
for academic services, dining operations, and other programs that
will benefit all student-athletes.
$3.1 million will complete Harrison’s $10 million pledge for
the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature,
and Culture, part of the University Library. To be housed in a new
complex now under construction that also will contain the Albert
and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, the institute will
include an exhibition gallery, research space, multimedia classrooms,
and other facilities for scholarship and public outreach.
Webb, one of Harrison’s five children, said her father’s
generous estate provisions reflect the family’s many ties
to the University.
generations of Harrisons have attended the Law School, and it was
always an important part of his life,” she said. “He
admired the discipline and intellectual rigor of the law, even though
it was not his lifelong profession. As for medicine, both of my
parents were treated at the University with incredible skill and
incredible dignity. That experience forged lasting relationships
with members of the faculty there.”
The mother of
a current U.Va. student, Mrs. Webb also noted that her father “planned
for the future in everything he did,” including his support
for the University. “That’s why he was interested in
endowed chairs. He considered professorships the best way to make
a difference in education and to strengthen the University’s
ability to impart knowledge to future generations.”
David A. Harrison III
David A. Harrison III earned his bachelor’s degree at the
University in 1939 and his law degree in 1941. He served in World
War II and practiced law in New York until 1959, when he joined
the investment banking firm of Reynolds & Co., later Dean Witter
Reynolds. In his retirement, he operated Flowerdew Hundred Farm,
a working farm near Hopewell and site of one of the earliest English
settlements in America. At the University, he was a trustee of the
Law School Foundation, a member of the Alumni Association Board
of Managers, and a member of both the University and the Law School
campaign executive committees.
Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189