It’s often said that age is a prerequisite to maturity. Clearly this is not the case for the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Founded in 2007, the school wasted no time in establishing itself as the nation’s premier destination for aspiring public leaders.
Now, the Batten family, the visionary philanthropists behind the school, is investing in the school’s future once again. In fall 2018, Jane Batten, wife of founder Frank Batten Sr. (College ’50), made a generous $5 million commitment through the Batten Foundation to create the school’s first three endowed professorships. Thanks to a match from the University’s Bicentennial Professors Fund, as well as additional contributions from a small group of donors, the gift has resulted in the $9 million Batten Family Bicentennial Leadership Professorships Fund.
As Batten’s first three endowed chairs, the positions—one distinguished and two associate roles—will be in the area of leadership, honoring Mr. Batten’s original vision.
“Beginning with their extraordinary gift to establish the Batten School in 2007, the Batten family continues to shape the face of leadership education for the 21st century,” Batten School dean-elect Ian Solomon said. “These professorships will reinforce the Batten School’s preeminence in cultivating ethical leaders and enlightened leadership for the world.”
The Batten family’s gift is the most recent in a long history of support. In May 2018, they made a $10 million commitment in support of graduate fellowships at the school. That gift was matched through the Bicentennial Scholars Fund, resulting in a $20 million endowment.
Frank Batten Sr., right, confers with The Virginian-Pilot managing editor Robert Mason, left, and editor Lenoir Chambers, center, in 1960. Batten rose from errand boy to publisher of The Virginian-Pilot and later founded and led one of the country’s largest privately held media companies.
The Virginian-Pilot Photo