Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
University of Virginia Darden School of Business received an astounding donation that has broken records and will have a significant impact on the school’s future. David M. LaCross and his wife Kathleen O. LaCross have made a transformational gift, building on their previous donation, to support the advancement of Darden and its students.
In October 2022, the LaCross family made a generous gift of $44 million to Darden. However, with matching funds from UVA, that amount increased to an astonishing $50 million. Now, with their recent donation, the LaCross family’s total gift to Darden exceeds $100 million, making it the largest contribution in the school’s history and ranking among the top 10 gifts to any business school.
Moreover, this generous gift also positions the LaCross family in the top five donors to the University of Virginia Honor the Future campaign, emphasizing their commitment to the university as a whole.
The impact of the LaCross gift extends beyond mere financial support. It will be directed towards three main areas: faculty excellence, enhancing the student experience, and contributing to the development of the Goodwin Family Grounds in Charlottesville. This comprehensive approach ensures that Darden will continue to attract and retain top-notch faculty, provide an exceptional learning environment for students, and create a sustainable campus for future generations.
The announcement of this incredible gift coincided with the official naming of the botanical gardens on Darden Grounds as the LaCross Botanical Gardens. This name will serve as a lasting reminder of the LaCross family’s commitment to nurturing both education and natural beauty.
Furthermore, the donation will play a critical role in realizing one of the top priorities of the Darden School’s “Faculty Forward” campaign. This campaign aims to position Darden and UVA as leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies. The LaCross gift will fund research and instruction in AI, its ethical implications, and its impact on business and society. Such initiatives and investments are crucial to ensure that Darden graduates are well-equipped for the challenges and opportunities presented by rapidly evolving technological landscapes.
Additionally, the LaCross gift will support the work of the Darden Centers of Excellence ecosystem. This ecosystem fosters cutting-edge research, develops new courses, and enables engagement with industry practices. Through this support, the LaCross family will facilitate the creation of knowledge and solutions that have real-world applications, bringing academia and industry closer together.
Lastly, the LaCross bequest will also contribute to Darden’s involvement in the “Digital Technology and Society” focus area of the University of Virginia’s Grand Challenges Research Investments. This collaboration will further enhance Darden’s academic prowess and its ability to address complex societal issues through interdisciplinary research.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is incredibly grateful for the immense generosity of the LaCross family. Their support will undoubtedly catapult Darden’s reputation and its ability to shape the leaders of tomorrow. With this gift, the LaCross family has demonstrated their profound belief in the power of education and their unwavering commitment to making a meaningful impact on society.