Sharon Owlett has a long history with the Jefferson Trust. When the Trust was first formed, she was approached by Michael Clarke with the chance to be a part of the Trust’s inaugural Board of Trustees. “It was impossible to turn down the opportunity to work together with other dedicated alumni to build an organization that would foster programs both large and small across Grounds.” Sharon served as the first Chair of the Grants Committee and was key to constructing the grants process. She describes her first stint with the Trust as “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was challenging, deeply rewarding, and fun, all at the same time.” It took little persuasion for Sharon to return to the Trust for a second term; she is currently in her eighth year as a Trustee!
Cavalier pride runs deep in the Owlett family. Besides being a 1975 Law School graduate, Sharon is the mother of two double-Hoos, both of whom graduated from the College, then pursued graduate degrees (Law for one and Curry for the other). She has a stepbrother and two nephews that are UVA grads as well. Being a Trustee has allowed Sharon to enhance her connection to the University, due to the people she has been able to meet and get to know. She has been able to work closely with the wonderful staff of the Alumni Association, her fellow Trustees (who span all the schools of the University and multiple generations), and, of course, the applicants who come from every corner of the University community. It has created a “multi-layered connection with UVA [that is] hard to duplicate,” she says.
Sharon remains very involved at UVA outside of the Trust, having previously served on the Law School Alumni Council (including being Chair of National Appeals) and currently serving on the UVA Law School Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Outside of the University, she has sat on and/or advised several non-profit boards, including The Highland School in Warrenton and, currently, The Children’s Health Foundation in Norfolk.
It’s hard to pick a favorite trustee memory when there are so many, according to Sharon. What has always resonated with her the most is “hearing from the people that our grants have benefited: you know you’re doing good things when you see the difference we as a University can make in people’s lives, both here on Grounds and around the world.”
“Being able to help bring people’s ideas to life is an experience everyone should have,” Sharon says. She recommends getting involved with the Trust, because “The vision and the passion of the Trust’s applicants are energizing to see – it’s absolutely amazing to have a front row view of the intellectual, entrepreneurial and humanitarian talent that makes up this University. Having a role in fostering that talent enriches our Trustee group in indelible way.”