Trustee Mike Riordan is finishing up his sixth and final year with the Jefferson Trust. A Double Hoo, Mike was an Economics major who completed his undergraduate degree in 1996 and returned for his MBA from the Darden School in 2003. When reflecting on his decision to choose UVA, Mike said “Growing up in Pittsburgh…UVA wasn’t on the radar of many people [around me]. However, my father had attended law school at UVA in the early 1970s and so he introduced us to the school during a spring break trip one year. My sister and I both fell in love with the school and I was lucky enough to be able to get in early admission…so I didn’t really consider anywhere else seriously.”
Upon his return to UVA in 2003, Mike met his wife Elizabeth. He describes meeting Elizabeth as one of his fondest memories from his time at the University. “We were both in section A together first year [at Darden] and started dating our second year. We got married a couple years later. Ironically, she is also a Double Hoo, having been in the same 1996 graduating class. We didn’t know each other at the time,” said Mike.
Elizabeth and Mike have been longtime supporters of the University across various programs, but the Trust offered Mike a chance to be more directly involved than he had been since graduating. Discussing his experience with the Trust, Mike said, “I think the thing that was compelling to me at the time (and what is still very compelling about the Trust today) is both the ability to help decide where your money will go, as well as being involved on a very granular level with what’s going on at the school. The scope of the grants that we consider, including the ones that may not ultimately be funded, provide amazing insight into what’s going on at one of the best universities in the world. I can’t think of any other initiative or philanthropic endeavor that provides that level of exposure and insight into an organization as dynamic as UVA.”
For many years, Mike has served as the Chairman of the Trust’s Communications Committee, setting strategy for effectively communicating the message of the Trust to students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the University. “I came in at an interesting time when the Trust had been firmly established by the visionary folks who got it off the ground, but was really still in its formative stages. We have done a tremendous amount of governance and organizational work in the last six years, which I think has helped the Trust mature into the dynamic asset it has become for the University. When I first started, we didn’t even have a [Communications] committee. Our marketing and communications efforts were ad hoc and not particularly organized. The work that Wayne, Kaye, Amy, Colleen, and Adib have done since then to help promote the Trust and educate the various stakeholders about the Trust is amazing to look back on, considering where we started.”
Mike recognizes a 2013 grant for President Sullivan’s Data Science Institute as one of the most impactful grants the Trust has provided the University. “That grant stands out from a couple of different perspectives. The first is that it was and is a very important initiative for the University and is one that will continue to pay dividends for years to come. It perfectly fit the model we strive to achieve of providing seed money for something that can expand into a sustainable, impactful program. The second reason it stands out was that this grant was relatively unique in terms of our grant cycle and process and showed that the Trust had matured to the point of being able to be a resource for key stakeholders across the University to help get big things done.”
Looking forward, Mike is most excited about the composition of the Board of Trustees. “It is an incredibly accomplished, thoughtful, and engaging group of people whom I have learned a great deal from and have enjoyed getting to know and count as good friends. The fact that the Trust continues to attract such high quality, generous individuals makes me very excited about the future of the Trust and what it can still develop into moving forward.”
Though we will miss having Mike on the Board, the Trust is incredibly grateful for Mike’s leadership and involvement over the years. The organization has enjoyed remarkable growth with Mike serving as Chair of the Communications Committee, and has a clear direction for continuing along that trajectory.
May ’17 Newsletter: The First Annual Jefferson Trust Daniel S. Adler Student Award: Poetry Slam Invitational
UVA’s Flux Poetry & Spoken Word, a student-run CIO, received a Jefferson Trust grant this spring to take UVA’s first team to the 2017 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in Chicago. Leading up to the national event, the Flux team held weekly workshops and practices throughout the academic year to prepare and select team members to represent the University. The UVA contingent consisted of 5 poets, one coach and one assistant coach.
This year’s CUPSI boasted the largest number of competing teams, 78 in total, in the 15 year history of the Invitational. The UVA team did well, scoring the highest among the teams that were attending for the first time!
The team’s grant proposal caught the interest and imagination of the trustees during the annual review process, including Trustee Dan Adler, who selected this project as the very first Annual Jefferson Trust Daniel S. Adler Student Award. Mr. Adler serves as the project’s trustee mentor, an opportunity for additional interaction between the Trust and the project.
When establishing the award in 2016 through an additional donation, Adler said, “I have been inspired by the student grant requests these past five years, and so am excited to help enable students to bring their dreams to life, challenge them in leadership roles, and help then make a difference to the University and the Charlottesville community.”
On April 22, Jefferson Trust Vice-Chair Ashley Manning unveiled the Manning Pavilion, a unique student meeting space at Alumni Hall.
May ’17 Newsletter: University of Virginia’s Swim Club Team—IM Rec Award Winners and National Champions!
Each year, The Jefferson Trust awards two $2,500 IM Rec Awards to club athletic teams that excel in the areas of commitment, leadership and service to the community. One of this year’s winners, The Swim Club of the University of Virginia, also won the title of National Champions at the 2017 Collegiate Club Swimming and Diving National Championships held April 7-9 in Atlanta, Georgia. The National team that represented the University was composed of 58 of the team’s 132 members, who practice five times a week at the Aquatic & Fitness Center. Obviously, all of the practice has paid off. Led by highest scoring male swimmer and meet MVP, Henrik Pohlmann, the men’s team placed first by winning four out of five relays. The Women’s team, led by Kaleigh Rosenburg, placed second, earning the combined team first place, along with title of National Champion.
Coached by fourth year Adam Whitener and Andy Petters, who is a University Dean of Housing and Residence Life, the team is led by former and current presidents Anne Gent and Matthew Honnold. “We are very honored to receive the IM-Rec Club Sports Award. It is great to receive recognition for our tremendous growth in size and competitiveness, as well as our charitable and community involvement. The grant will be a tremendously important source of funding for our growing team, and enable us to provide more opportunities to our members,” stated Honnold.
I have to admit, I was skeptical. “Giving To Hoos Day” seemed nice enough; but the Trust probably didn’t have a big enough pool of interested alums, parents and University supporters to make their potential donations that day really add up to much – most people don’t even know about us!
But boy was I wrong. Thank you to the many donors who made GTHD gifts to the Jefferson Trust that day; totaling over $105,000! The impact from that group donation will be felt for many years to come, as our grant endowment grows. Here are a few examples of what the endowment income on just $105,000 (approximately $5200 annually) has supported in the past:
- UVA Speaks grant/student group ($2500)
- The HOPE Project grant/Center for Global Health ($5000)
- Heart of Medicine grant/School of Medicine ($5100)
- Support of OAAA Peer Advising grant/ Office of African-American Affairs ($5000)
- Rewriting the Eighteenth Centuries Symposium grant/multiple schools ($5900)
- HOOTS Tutoring grant/student group ($4400)
Every gift really does count, and the impact on our University is immediate – and immeasurable, in the eyes of the students, faculty and staff from across Grounds whose receipt of a Jefferson Trust grant has not only changed their world, but also the lives of those who have benefitted from a grant project or program. If you would like to learn more about any of our funded projects and how your gift could make a difference, please contact me at Kaye Forsman (email@example.com) or phone me at 434-243-8118. Thanks!
In the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, undergraduate students are expected to declare a major in spring semester of their first year. However, with little exposure to the different engineering majors, many students enter a major without a reasonable understanding of their new disciplines. In an effort to allow underclassmen to make more informed decisions within the engineering program and with funding from the Jefferson Trust, engineering students developed the Daedalus Project. Led by program director Jean Salac, a fourth-year Computer Science student, Daedalus aims to aid students in discerning their academic interests through a network of hands-on, project-based seminars led by upperclassmen across the engineering departments.
When the Trust asked Jean how the idea for the program arose, she explained “The Daedalus Project was largely a result of my confusion and frustration as a first-year when I could not decide which major to pick and felt that I did not have enough resources. I soon found that other students felt the same way, so in the spring of 2015, we decided to start the Daedalus Project to help future first years with their major decisions.” Daedalus captures the spirit of student self-governance on Grounds, as students recognized the issues within the current engineering system and took active measures to correct them. The seminars are student-led sessions where first-years get to hear the honest perspectives of upperclassmen deep in their majors.
Members of the Daedalus team are excited to expand the program. Salac reported that over 150 students have attended seminars and that “with funding from the Trust, we hope to grow our seminars to include more interesting and innovative hands-on projects. We also hope to expand beyond in-class seminars and include lab and company tours as well.” By enabling students to explore companies and labs, first-years can develop a better understanding of the various majors in applied settings. Students can learn about the professions tied to each major, and how different engineering disciplines can serve as a platform for launching a career. The Trust is excited to see this program grow with greater funding, impacting more first-years annually.
“Sometimes giving the money [to an organization] is the end of a process; but with the Jefferson Trust, it really was just the beginning for me …. and I’ve enjoyed it immensely”. Alumnus and donor John Harris (COM ’82) recently participated in a panel of pan-University supporters, where he described the Trust as a “unique model across the country” that allows him to feel that his gift to the University through the Trust “really has legs” in providing important financial support to a wide variety of UVA schools, programs and initiatives.
With a desire to provide UVA students, faculty and other leaders with the tools and resources necessary to promote excellence in all areas of the University experience, donors to the Jefferson Trust represent a community of alumni and parents that are investing in the University’s future … and seeing the direct and tangible result of those investments. You can hear more from John about his experience with the Trust, by watching this short video:
Please visit our website for a comprehensive description of all of the 141 grants that donors to the Trust have funded over the past 10 years, and for more information about starting your own, special relationship with the Jefferson Trust!