The University of Virginia announced Thursday the largest private gift to its business school, a $68 million donation that will fund a major construction project, invest in faculty positions and support an initiative for “lifelong learning.”
The donor, Frank M. Sands Sr., said the Darden School of Business had provided him with a “transformational experience” as he earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1963.
“I am a big believer in lifelong learning and that learning is enabled by great faculty,” Sands said in a statement. “I hope this gift will inspire others to give and hope that the School will continue to be a true force for good in the free markets and broader world.”
Founded in 1955, the Darden school awarded 441 MBAs to full-time and executive students and six doctorates at its graduation ceremony Sunday. The Sands gift, combined with $14 million in matching funds from the public university in Charlottesville, will enable Darden to expand offerings for lifelong learners through classroom instruction and online. It will also support 12 new faculty chairs and help pay for the construction of a hotel and conference center that will bear the Sands name.
The Sands gift surpasses the previous Darden record, a $60 million donation from Frank Batten Sr. to create an institute for entrepreneurship and innovation.
The largest gift in U-Va. history, announced in January, was a $120 million donation to support a school of data science at the university. U-Va., marking its bicentennial this year, plans in the fall to launch a $5 billion fundraising campaign.