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Alumnus' $60 million donation pushes University past $1 billion Campaign goal

After receiving a $60 million gift to the Darden School -- the largest gift ever donated to any business school in the world -- the University announced Dec. 10 that it has surpassed its $1 billion Capital Campaign goal.

The donation from Frank Batten Sr., 1950 College graduate and retired entrepreneur, was celebrated at a press conference at Darden.

University President John T. Casteen III and Darden School Dean Edward A. Snyder also spoke at the event, where Batten received three standing ovations before talking about the gift's impact on Darden and the University.

Batten's "philanthropy sets a standard beyond the University and Darden -- [$60 million] is the largest gift to any business school in the world," Snyder said. "I assure you, we will not be passive" in making use of the donation.

Batten's gift will endow five Darden professorships, allow for a 75 percent increase in endowed scholarship resources, create a fellows program enabling corporate executives to come to Darden and will provide "venture capital funding," said Phil Giaramita, Darden School director of public relations.

Darden will be able to "attract and support MBA students with our vision," Snyder said.

"We will grow, but most importantly, we will grow with quality," he said. "We will meet the challenge [Batten] has put before us."

Batten, who is the retired chairman of Landmark Communications, Inc., said "a great opportunity to make a difference is to develop at Darden a world [class] program in entrepreneurship -- I am confident Darden is the place for that. A good start has been made, now it is time to take it to a higher level."

Batten described the effects of online trading, technology and the Internet on the American economy and entrepreneurs.

"I think this [innovation] is a blessing," Batten said.

The Campaign began in 1995 with an original goal of $750 million. In February 1998, having raised more than $670 million, the University raised its goal to $1 billion.

The Campaign ends Dec. 31.

To date, the Campaign totals $1.036 billion in gifts, pledges and future support, such as wills.

Over 120,000 friends and alumni have donated to the Campaign.

Batten's gift pushes Darden even further past its Campaign goal of $100 million to $192 million and raises Darden's endowment about 37 percent.

Darden officials will continue to raise money for the Campaign and its Campaign goal may be raised in the future, Giaramita said.

"In the next couple of months Darden may even change its goal," he said.

Darden's Campaign ends June 30, 2001, he added.

Giaramita said he did not think the $60 million gift -- or Darden exceeding its goal -- would discourage other donors to the Campaign.

"I think it is really a matter of alumni and others responding to Darden's mission as it tries to become a world leader," he said.

Development and Communications Director Bill Sublette also said he did not think the large gift would stop other potential donors from giving to the Campaign.

"We don't think it will deter people from supporting the University -- our donors have seen the improvements their giving has made on the University and we believe they are pleased," Sublette said. "Anytime we raise the level with giving, it inspires people to rethink [the] level of their giving -- although [the $60 million] gift is extraordinary."

He said Batten's gift was "a vote of confidence that causes donors to take notice -- it is a source of inspiration and an affirmation of what the Campaign is trying to do."

At the Dec. 10 press conference, Casteen remarked on the Campaign as a whole.

"Over 120,000 people provided resources to make the visions we share possible," Casteen said. "The Campaign effort is not over -- there are many needs we seek to address in core academic areas."

But, "we are deeply grateful to the men and women who helped the University to think big," he said.

"You inspire us in many ways -- we are grateful for your generosity and leadership," he added, addressing Batten. "Your family has set the pace for the Campaign effort."

The Batten family donated $13.5 million in 1996 to the Darden School, which established the Batten Center at Darden.

The Batten Center's "main mission is to do research, act as an agent generating ideas for new businesses and help train people to handle those businesses, as well as building networking," Giaramita said. "A lot of the research goes back to the MBA program."

With Batten's gift, the Batten Center will become the Batten Institute Jan. 1, 2000, a "pretty expensive name change," Batten joked.

The Institute will continue the work of the Center, but "on a much broader basis," Giaramita said.

The Institute will have a "much greater impact," he said. "The Center has done a fine job, we will build on that in a major way."

Gifts to Darden's Campaign in 1999 total $100 million, he added.

Darden raised only $30 million in 1998.

Major gifts to Darden in 1999 include $10 million from George David, chairman of United Technologies Corp., and a $13.3 million gift from William H. Goodwin, Darden alumnus and head of CCA Industries.


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