U.Va. launches Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning
Institute funded via record $68 million gift to Darden School
Using its largest-ever gift — a $68 million donation last year from Frank M. Sands Sr., founder of Sands Investment Group Inc. — the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business announced Friday it has launched the Marjorie R. and Frank M. Sands Sr. Institute for Lifelong Learning.
The Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning will provide degree and non-degree programs for working professionals. The gift also established the Sands Professorship Fund in support of 12 new faculty chair positions at the business school. On Friday, the institute announced its first five professorships.
“It’s thrilling to see the early impact of Frank Sands’ gift beginning to take shape,” Ashley Williams, CEO and CLO of Darden executive education, lifelong learning and non-degree programs, and leader of the Sands Institute, said in a statement. “We are excited to continue to unleash innovation in this space, making Darden an indispensable lifelong learning partner for professionals and organizations across the globe.”
The professors include:
- Toni Irving — teaches and consults about leadership, nonprofit management and organizational behavior, cross-sector partnerships, social impact, corporate responsibility and business ethics
- Lynn Isabella — teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership and change and team interaction across Darden programs
- Paul Simko — teaches courses in accounting and financial statement analysis and previously led the Executive MBA program at Darden
- Scott Snell — teaches courses in strategic management, consults senior executives and is the former senior associate dean for executive education at Darden
- Kimberly Whitler — teaches marketing strategy, marketing performance and brand management
“We’re thrilled to bestow endowed Sands professorships on these five world-class professors,” Darden Dean Scott Beardsley said in a statement. “They are leaders in and out of the classroom and further Frank Sands’ goal of bolstering excellence and innovation in teaching at the Darden School. We look forward to announcing several other new professorships in the year to come to support degree program offerings for the working professional.”
The Sands’ gift will also go toward developing more online courses amid the pandemic, constructing the U.Va Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning (to include 199 hotel rooms, 12,000 square feet of conference space and a 6,500-square-foot ballroom) and new degree offerings, including an executive MBA program and a master’s degree in business analytics.
“In these unprecedented times, the need to accelerate lifelong learning to support the leaders of tomorrow to successfully lead in times of uncertainty and change has been further cemented,” Williams said in a statement.