Other U-Va. appointees include a former Democratic legislator; a partner at the prominent Richmond law firm McGuireWoods; and the heads of financial, wireless and energy companies.
Kaine appointed R.J. Kirk, a Radford resident who founded a pharmaceutical company, who was the 166th-wealthiest American in 2011, according to Forbes. He has contributed more than $2 million to candidates since 1999, including $785,000 to Kaine and $300,000 to McDonnell, according to VPAP.
McDonnell’s appointees include John L. Nau III, president of the largest beer distributor in Houston, who has donated $189,000 to candidates, including $65,000 to McDonnell; and Tim Robertson, son of televangelist Pat Robertson, who leads an investment holding company and has contributed about $45,000 to McDonnell.
Among academics in Charlottesville, the board is regarded as a relatively conservative and pro-business group. There are no educators on the panel.
The board does have a nonvoting student, Hillary Hurd. On Tuesday, the Cavalier Daily student newspaper quoted Hurd as saying that the board’s decision on Sullivan “will prove in time to have been a wise one.”
Many board members across the state are in regular contact with McDonnell — some individually but more often on conference calls or receptions at the governor’s mansion. The governor has taken a hands-on approach with the schools, but primarily on tuition and finances.
“My goal is to appoint excellent board members,’’ McDonnell said in the interview. “I leave the governance of the universities up to them — from hiring the presidents and faculty to setting tuition rates.”
Researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.