Donations continue to climb at Virginia universities
Individuals and family foundations spread the wealth in 2019, giving record amounts to Virginia universities but also assisting cancer patients, museums and out-of-work coal miners.
In October, the University of Virginia announced a $100 million gift from David and Jane Walentas to help fund a new scholarship program for first-generation students.
David Walentas, a 1961 U.Va. alumnus and 1964 Darden School of Business graduate, was the first in his family to attend college. Three-fourths of the couple’s grant will go to scholarships and fellowships for first-generation students. The rest will go to fellowships and professorships through the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and Darden.
In May, Darden received its largest-ever gift — a $68 million donation from Frank M. Sands Sr., founder of Sands Investment Group Inc. Sands earned his master’s degree in business administration from Darden in 1963.
The donation will create the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning, which provides degree and non-degree programs, and also will start the Sands Professorship Fund in support of 12 new faculty chair positions at the business school.
U.Va. also received a $40 million gift from The Robin Hood Foundation, founded by Paul Tudor Jones II and Sonia M. Jones, which will fund part of the “Contemplative Commons,” to be located on the university’s Grounds. The building is intended to provide meeting space for students across disciplines to collaborate on academic projects.
At Virginia Tech, overall donations reached a record $181.9 million in fiscal year 2019, an 18% increase from the previous year. It marked the third consecutive year that donations to the university have exceeded $150 million.
In Arlington, George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School received a $50 million gift in March from the estate of Allison M. and Dorothy B. Rouse. A retired associate justice with the California Court of Appeal, Allison Rouse died in 2005 and his wife, Dorothy, died in 2018. The gift is the largest in the law school’s history, supporting 13 new faculty chairs.
Hampden-Sydney College received its largest-ever gift, a $30 million donation from the Pauley Family Foundation, in September. The grant will fund a new science building, to be named the Pauley Science Center.
In addition to major university gifts, The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News will be able to keep its admission fees at $1 in perpetuity thanks to a $10 million grant from The Batten Foundation, established by the family that once owned the Virginian-Pilot and Roanoke Times newspapers and The Weather Channel. It was the largest gift that the maritime history museum has received.
The Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation donated $1 million to Blackjewel LLC coal miners who lost their jobs after the mining conglomerate declared bankruptcy in July. More than 1,110 workers in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia were abruptly laid off.
And in late November, Carilion Clinic President and CEO Nancy Agee and her husband, U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge G. Steven Agee, made a $1 million donation to establish the Carilion Clinic Cancer Center on the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus.
- Donations by independent foundations and groups
- Donations by companies and corporate foundations
- Donations by individuals and family foundations