Board of Visitors member Robert Hardie and his wife Molly Hardie made a $7 million gift towards the Athletics Master Plan and the new Student Health facility earlier last week, the University announced Tuesday.
According to the announcement, $6 million will go towards the Athletics Master Plan, which calls for the construction of several new athletics facilities. The remaining $1 million will go towards the new Student Health and Wellness Center, which will replace the current Elson Student Health Center and open in 2021. Instead of its current location at the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Brandon Avenue, it will be located on the south end of Brandon Avenue near Bond House.
Robert Hardie is an alum of the College and the Darden School of Business, while Molly Hardie graduated from the School of Medicine in 2000. The former taught general management as an adjunct faculty member at Darden from 1999 to 2007.
Robert Hardie co-chairs and serves as CEO of H7 Holdings LLC and Level One Partners LLC in Charlottesville. Molly Hardie also co-chairs H7 Holdings and has sat on several local boards, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and U.Va. Health Foundation.
According to the release, the pair has donated $5.5 million in major gifts to the University already, including donations to the Children’s Hospital, the Darden School and the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.
In a statement, the Hardies said, “We are grateful and humbled to be able to support U.Va., an institution that has had a profound impact on our lives and those of our children. Our latest gifts are testaments to the leadership and vision of Carla Williams and Pat Lampkin, as well as Jim Ryan and his team. These projects are critical to the development and well-being of student-athletes and all students.”
Both gifts are general contributions to the respective projects.
The Athletics Master Plan is estimated to cost $180 million and will be funded by private gifts like the Hardies’, the release noted. It will provide facilities for more than 70 percent of sport programs at the University, including a Football Operations Center, an Olympic Sports Center, three grass practice fields, a walkway connecting North and Central Grounds and a renovated McCue Center, which houses several athletics departments, including the football program.
“Robert and Molly have supported our vision with their time, talent and resources since day one,” Athletics Director Carla Williams said in a statement quoted in the press release. “Their commitment to the University and U.Va. Athletics has been a constant source of encouragement to me, our coaches and our student-athletes. We need support for the Master Plan, and I’m so thankful to both of them for helping us get closer to making the project a reality.”
Last year, the University demolished three athletic facilities, including former basketball arena University Hall, to clear space for two practice fields for the football team. At a recent meeting this month, the Board of Visitors approved designs for the fields.
The new Student Health and Wellness Center, meanwhile, is currently under construction. In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Lampkin said the 156,000-square-foot center is slated to be finished by spring 2021.
Lampkin said the project costs $100 million and has already received a $40 million anonymous gift. The University is posting $30 million for the project and is seeking donations for the rest.
Like the current center, the new center will house several medical clinics, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Disability Access Center, the Office of Health Promotion, a pharmacy and a traveler’s clinic. The building will also provide a teaching kitchen, meditation space and spaces for student activities.
“We will open it into the evenings so that students are able to study, meet and turn some of the multipurpose rooms into areas that students can interact and meet as groups, study or just be in the vicinity until late at night,” Lampkin said.
Lampkin said the Student Health building fits with President Jim Ryan’s strategic plan, “A Great and Good University: The 2030 Plan,” because it encourages community building — a goal Ryan has emphasized. She said the baseline for building community is good health and that the building will serve as an “anchor” for the student experience.
“It will be intertwined and connected to what students, what opportunities and challenges we put forward for our students during their four years and graduate students,” Lampkin said. “The beauty of the Student Health building is it impacts every student, every undergrad and grad.”
In June, the University received an anonymous $5 million donation towards the Athletics Master Plan and Student Health and Wellness Center.