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Board of Visitors to vote on design plans for School of Data Science, new professorships

BOV will meet virtually Dec. 10 and 11 to consider the proposals

<p>The Board of Visitors plans to vote on schematic designs for both the construction of a School of Data Science at the Ivy Corridor as well as a renovation to Smith Hall at the Darden School of Business.</p>

The Board of Visitors plans to vote on schematic designs for both the construction of a School of Data Science at the Ivy Corridor as well as a renovation to Smith Hall at the Darden School of Business.

The University’s Board of Visitors will meet electronically Thursday and Friday in both open and closed sessions to discuss various financing plans for new construction at the University — including the School of Data Science — as well as establishing four new professorships in a variety of different fields. 

The meeting will be broadcast live online and there will be no opportunity for unscheduled public comments at the meeting. 

The Board of Visitors plans to vote on schematic designs for both the construction of a School of Data Science on the Ivy Corridor as well as a renovation to Smith Hall at the Darden School of Business. The Buildings and Grounds Committee will also review plans for an improved Athletics Complex. 

Courtesy University of Virginia

The School of Data Science facility will be the first academic building constructed as part of the University’s plan to develop the Emmet/Ivy Corridor. Construction of the school is expected to cost $48 million and the school is expected to be 61,000 gross square feet. According to the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the building which will be four-stories tall, will “include four “smart” classrooms, faculty offices and a variety of meeting and research areas that will provide essential learning, research and administrative spaces."

The School of Data Science was founded in 2019 thanks to a $120 million grant from the Quantitative Foundation, the largest private donation in the University’s history. Currently, the School of Data Science offers a masters program, though it plans to expand its course offerings to undergraduate and doctorate students in the future.

Courtesy University of Virginia

The renovation of Smith Hall — which is part of the Darden School of Business —  is part of the redevelopment of the Inn at Darden. The Smith Hall project, which is expected to cost $14 million, is intended to “repurpose the facility for academic, administrative and programmatic spaces.”

According to the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the plans for the renovation will provide “an opportunity to create dynamic welcoming and support spaces for alumni, participants in executive education programs and corporate sponsors.”

The Board of Visitors’s Academic and Student Life Committee will also consider approval of a series of professorships. The first is the John L. Nau III Bicentennial Distinguished Professorship in the History and Principles of Democracy in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Nau, a member of the Class of 1968, had his family foundation — the Nau Foundation — commit a $27.5 million donation to the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ Democracy Initiative and its Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy earlier this year. This donation will fund the new professorship.

The Board of Visitors will also vote on approval of the establishment of the Irfan and Noreen Galaria Research Professorship in Islam and Liberal Democracy. The professor will be expected to teach in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Doctors Irfan and Noreen Galaria decided to choose the University as the location to establish a professorship due to its “responsibility for critically and continually examin[ing] the relationship between religion and democracy, as the University’s founder did during his lifetime.”

Additionally, the Board of Visitors will vote on the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professorship in Law. The professor will be a faculty member at the School of Law. The professorship is named after Garrett Schenck, a member of the Class of 1958, graduate from the School of Law and former member of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Board, who passed away in 2000.

Lastly, the Board of Visitors will also vote on approval of the Miller Family Bicentennial Professorship in Otolaryngology. Otolaryngology, a medical specialty which is focused on the ears, nose and throat, is also known as ENT. This professorship is made possible by a contribution from the Miller family — in 2008, Matt Miller, the son of Nancy and Michael Miller, was treated at U.Va. Health following a bike accident that occured while he was a student at the University. 

Following the bicycle accident, Miller fully recovered and earned an undergraduate degree from the University along with a medical degree, and completed an otolaryngology residency with the very same doctors that helped him recover. Following this experience, the Millers decided to fund a professorship to support an emerging scholar in the Department of Otolaryngology.  

The Board of Visitors will also approve a change to the mission statement for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. According to the Committee on the University of Virginia's College at Wise, the mission statement is being changed to “place the U.Va. Wise student at the center of the College at Wise’s mission and purpose.”

The meeting of the full board will also feature a “Fall 2020 Retrospective” from President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill and various other panelists.

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