John Griffin (McIntire ’85) likes to set the bar as high as possible. In 2014, with his $4 million challenge gift to the University of Virginia, he created the Blue Ridge Scholars program to support undergraduate students with exceptional academic promise and significant financial need, and challenged other donors to match his gift on a one-to-one basis.
In December 2020, President Jim Ryan announced an additional investment of $30 million to support need- and merit-based scholarships at the University. In a symbol of its commitment to creating greater access, the board earmarked $10 million of this investment to provide special matching funds for two important University initiatives—the University Achievement Awards and the Blue Ridge Scholars Program.
Under these special terms, gifts of $100,000 or more to either program will be matched at 100%. Once the $10 million is depleted, gifts of $100,000 or more will be matched at the regular rate of 50%.
A committee within the Office of Admission selects Blue Ridge Scholars based on academic accomplishment and financial need. A Blue Ridge Scholarship ranges from $1,000 to $7,000 per student per year and may replace the loan or work study component of a financial aid package. To date, more than 200 students have received a Blue Ridge Scholarship.