$30 million scholarship program announced for Darden

Scholarships to fund international study experience for all MBA students


Darden Worldwide Courses are international, faculty-led classes currently offered on five continents.

The Darden School of Business announced in a press release Monday a $15 million gift from the Batten Foundation — a Virginia-based private foundation — and a matching gift from the Bicentennial Scholars Fund. The total $30 million endowment will fund the new Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship Program which will grant a scholarship to every full-time MBA student at Darden to attend a Darden Worldwide Course at no additional cost.

Darden Worldwide Courses are international faculty-led classes that last around seven to 10 days. Students can choose from 14 courses on five continents, including Argentina, Germany and China this spring. While taking the courses, students visit local officials, companies and educators for hands-on experiences in different business environments and cultures, according to the press release.

The first scholarships will arrive August 2018 and be offered to incoming students of the MBA Class of 2020 to cover the fees of a Darden Worldwide course. The Batten Foundation gift is expected to be fully funded in 2020, at which time course fees and most travel costs will be covered for any MBA student participating in the international experience. 

Darden Dean Scott Beardsley said in the release that he expects this gift to have a significant impact on Darden by making the school more affordable while giving students the opportunity to have international experiences.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Batten Foundation for enabling this game-changing opportunity, which positions Darden to provide each MBA student funding for a global course through a scholarship,” Beardsley said.  

According to the release, the Board of Visitors designated $100 million toward the Bicentennial Scholars Fund to match large gifts supporting student scholarships. The $15 million match for the Batten Foundation gift is equal to the largest match from the fund yet, the press release states.

The donation is also the largest gift to the Darden School since the Batten family created the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 1999 with a $60 million donation.

“The University of Virginia is committed to the intertwined principles of excellence and affordability,” University President Teresa Sullivan said in the release. “Darden fully embraces these principles, and with an infusion of energy from this generous philanthropic gift, Darden can continue to pursue its mission of preparing students from all walks of life for global leadership and service.” 

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