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University Announces $8.5 Million Lead Gift For Arts & Sciences South Lawn Project

April 3, 2003-- An $8.5 million commitment from University of Virginia alumnus John L. Nau III and his wife, Bobbie Nau, will make possible a new building for the Department of History at U.Va., part of a major academic facilities project. University President John T. Casteen III announced the Houston couple’s latest contribution today at a meeting of the Board of Visitors.

The gift to U.Va’s College Foundation will be the largest contribution to date to advance the South Lawn Project, an ensemble of new buildings to be constructed adjacent to the historic structures designed by Thomas Jefferson and Stanford White that are collectively known as The Lawn to generations of U.Va. students.

Encompassing nearly 300,000 square feet of new and renovated space, the $160 million South Lawn Project will provide new facilities for 11 of the 26 departments in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences. It will accommodate 12,000 student visits per day.

“This gift is significant,” Casteen said, “not only because of its size, but because of the momentum it creates for this vital project. The Naus understand fully the tremendous capital needs of the College, and that they have made one of the earliest lead gifts to the project means a great deal to us.”

A 1968 graduate of U.Va. who majored in history, John Nau is president and chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, one of the nation’s largest distributors of Anheuser-Busch products. He has been instrumental in securing Anheuser-Busch’s support for the University, including funds for an alcohol awareness program and a major gift for the Environmental Sciences Department’s Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Longtime benefactors of the University, John and Bobbie Nau were the principal donors to the John L. Nau III Professorship in the History of the American Civil War, now held by distinguished Civil War historian Gary Gallagher. The Naus also endowed a Jefferson Scholars Graduate Fellowship in Civil War Studies, and their gifts have benefited the Virginia football program, efforts to preserve the University’s Jeffersonian buildings and grounds, and the U.Va. Alumni Association.

Nau helped to establish the College Foundation of the University of Virginia, which was formed in 2001 to attract donor support for U.Va.’s core liberal arts programs. Today he is the incoming president of the foundation’s board of trustees and chair of its development committee. A past member of the U.Va. Alumni Association’s Board of Managers, Nau played a prominent role in the University’s last fund-raising campaign, serving on the Campaign Executive Committee and as chair of the campaign for the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Although design details of the South Lawn Project are not complete, initial plans call for two interconnected ensembles of buildings and landscapes. On the south side of Jefferson Park Avenue, on what is now a parking lot, new facilities will be built for the departments of History, Religious Studies and Politics.

On the north side of the street, the complex will house five foreign language departments and the Department of Sociology. The departments of Classics and Philosophy will occupy a renovated Cocke Hall, a Stanford White building that is part of the South Lawn Project. An atrium that will sweep around the semi-circular south wall of Old Cabell Hall, another Stanford White structure, promises to become a new hub of student and faculty life.

More than half of the funding for the project will come from private contributions to the College Foundation. University and state funds also will be used. Polshek Partnership of New York City is project architect.

Contact: Lee Graves, (434) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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