Stepping Up Early


The Jefferson Trust has ten board members who finished their undergraduate work within the past 12 years – fitting the Alumni Association’s definition of a “young alum.”

These alumni joined the board because they were passionate about giving back early. The engagement with, and love for UVA that sustained them as students has inspired them to play an active role in shaping the institution’s future. Here are reflections from a few of them about their experience.

John Burns (Col ’15)

While a student at UVA, I was able to take advantage of several alumni-sponsored opportunities. When I was approached with a chance to serve on the Trust, it seemed like an immediately tangible way to pay those opportunities forward for other students. It’s proven to be exactly that, and more. As a younger Trustee, I’ve been able to connect with the full Trust board in a meaningful way – some Trustees were at my wedding, others have become business partners, and all are friends and connections that I’m grateful to maintain. Serving on the Trust has been a wonderful way to remain connected to the happenings of UVA, and I can’t recommend it highly enough as a manner in which to give back to the University.

John became a Trustee in 2016 and serves on the Development Committee. His wife, Faith, joined him on the Board in 2022 and serves on the Proposals Committee. The couple live and work in Washington, DC.

Harry Elkins (Engr ’17) & Allie Bing Elkins (Com ’17)

We truly believe that the University of Virginia is the best place on Earth to learn and grow. Since graduation, we have wanted a way to become meaningfully engaged on Grounds again, and the Jefferson Trust, with its mission of advancing the student experience, is the perfect fit.

Harry and Allie are recent additions to the Board.  They look forward to returning to Grounds from their home in Houston and have joined the Proposals Committee.

George Brown (Col ’19, Darden ’24)

The Trustees range of perspectives are tied to the same goal, advancing UVA.  For me, the Trust is the first step in a lifetime of service to the University.

George joined the Trust shortly after finishing his undergraduate work. Now, as a Darden student, he helps advance the organization as a leader on the Engagement Committee.

Jill Reid (Col ’11)

When I joined the Jefferson Trust, I was looking for a connection with the University. I have gotten that and so much more: a chance to meet some of the brightest minds on Grounds; the opportunity to fund innovative projects that enhance the student experience, inspire the faculty, and connect the school to the greater community; and to meet incredibly interesting and engaged alumni.

My time as a student at UVA gave me an amazing education, unparalleled friendships, and a spirited community. My time as an alum on the Trust has only helped to further those connections and allow me to be a part of advancing the University of which I am so proud to be an alum.

Jill is in the final year of her current board term.  She has provided valuable counsel and management on the Finance Committee.  She lives in New York where she works in finance for Loews Hotels.

Will Pike (Engr ’16)

The Jefferson Trust has been the perfect fit in my search to reconnect philanthropically with the University. Its focus on grants with direct student impact, reach across Grounds, and community of diverse and accomplished trustees have been both eye opening and inspiring to me. The Trust hits all the marks for active philanthropy and continued learning, and I look forward to staying involved for many years to come.

Will joined the Board in 2020 and serves on the Development Committee.  He lives in Dallas where he works for the Pike Corporation.

The Trust firmly believes that it is never too early (or too late) to make an impact.  We are proud of these young alumni for stepping up and playing an active role in shaping their beloved University.

The Magic of New Media

Vintage televisions

The media business has changed dramatically in the past few years. New brands are gaining customers, there have been countless mergers and acquisitions, and now many traditional media companies have a “+” at the end of their name, delivering even more content on-demand. It’s a substantial change in the way we consume media, how we access content, and how our thoughts and habits are shaped.

In this new world, there is tremendous opportunity for UVA students and alumni to impact the future. Many Trustees are at the forefront of this change. What does this look like from their perspective, what does the future hold, what does it mean for students entering the industry, and how can the Trust’s entrepreneurial spirit play a role?

“I was the only lawyer [at Netflix] in 2002. Now we’re over 700 and growing,” says David Hyman (Col ’88, Law ’93) who serves as the streaming giant’s General Counsel. “The work has changed in innumerable ways. When I started we were a domestic-only distributor of physical DVDs; now we’re a global media company, producing content across all verticals of TV and film.”

“Netflix was the beginning, and in the last two years, we’ve seen an explosion of services looking to compete,” says Paul Pastor (Col ’97).  Paul is the Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder at Firstlight Media and Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of the brand-new streaming service, Struum. He has held positions at the Discovery Channel, Disney, Technicolor and Universal Music Group to name a few.

“Streaming is transforming the way people consume content; however, it presents new challenges for consumers: most importantly, how should they navigate an a-la-carte content world. With now hundreds of services available in the U.S. alone, consumers struggle to figure out what to watch and where to watch it, and then need to balance this against what they can afford and the hassle factor of managing multiple subscriptions.” Paul is quick to note that data is playing an increasing role in almost every facet of the industry: data is leveraged to market in order to manage the consumer life cycle and to provide watch recommendations to consumers, and that’s just scratching the surface. Paul says, “I’m pleased to see UVA’s investment in data science. There are tremendous opportunities for UVA graduates to shape the consumer experience and the industry as a whole.”

Brian Stengel (Col ’89) is the founder and CEO of Trebuchet Partners, a merchant bank that advises and invests in disruptive growth companies and also led the fundraising efforts for Struum; he appreciates the recent industry evolution.

“Historically, media companies wielded control regarding what we watched and when we watched it.  It’s amusing to think we once tuned in weekly for specific shows and that the networks would let us know when. Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) is the new normal and content is now available On Demand, how, when and where we want to watch it. It’s a seismic shift of power: the consumer now has choice, flexibility and control where once the broadcaster or programmer ruled.”

This shift has implications for many other things, including philanthropy, and Brian sees similarities with the Trust’s unique donor-led model. “Private Venture Capital will support innovative ideas in the same way the Jefferson Trust supports great unfunded project. Many institutions align donors with certain priorities,” he says. “The Trust is an unrestricted endowment, and the donors use this same choice, flexibility and control to determine how much to give and how the funds are allocated.”

Whether advancing UVA through philanthropy or finding new ways to watch the ’Hoos, change is evident.

Anthony DiClemente (Com ’98) serves as the Executive Vice President of Investor Relations with ViacomCBS, and he rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq when Viacom and CBS recombined in December 2019. Having spent most of his career as an internet and media equity research analyst, Anthony has held positions at Evercore, Nomura and Barclays.

“As one of the industry’s largest creators of film and TV content, we fundamentally believe that producing compelling content is of paramount importance in today’s fragmented media landscape,” Anthony says. “Streaming allows content creators the opportunity to access an enormous and growing global market by way of distribution on multiple platforms, not just linear TV. More importantly, streaming technology has enabled content companies to increasingly forge a direct relationship with their fans and subscribers by way of their owned streaming platforms.”

Anthony is excited for the launch of ViacomCBS streaming service Paramount+ in March, and he hopes to find himself streaming the Hoos on the service for March Madness on CBS.

A newcomer to the business who has seen it shape as he’s learning is George Brown (Col ’19).  George serves as Senior Partnership Coordinator at Teton Gravity Research, which produces action sports films and content, including everything from extreme skiing expeditions to death-defying mountain biking adventures. The company also serves as a platform for outdoor enthusiasts to share and curate content.

“For the media business, this pandemic has taught us that content is king,” he says.

“The media companies that are able to consistently create engaging content, while providing their viewers with easy and accessible options for streaming that content, will succeed in this COVID world and beyond.”

Trustee Spotlight: Hanson Slaughter

Hanson Slaughter (COM ’94) joined the Jefferson Trust (the “Trust”) in the 2017-2018 academic year. The impetus for Hanson joining the Trust dates back to his undergraduate years when he approached Alumni Hall for a loan for one of his extracurricular activities. After a meeting with several people regarding the nature and use of the loan, Alumni Hall funded the request, which Hanson ensured was paid back prior to graduation.

As the University continues to grow, Hanson feels strongly about having an accessible resource where those affiliated with UVA may seek reasonable funding for projects that demonstrate creativity and ingenuity, which promote intellectual engagement and the advancement of UVA’s mission as a preeminent institution of higher learning. This passion for grant performance and organizational growth has led Hanson to serve on both the Oversight Committee and Development Committee of the Trust, where he now serves as Chair. Hanson is also a co-chair of his class reunion giving committee.

Hanson is a Managing Director with 1919 Investment Counsel, a boutique investment advisory firm focused on high-net-worth, family office, and institutional clients, for which he opened the Birmingham office in 2015. Previously, Hanson was the President of Trust Company of Sterne Agee and head of the family office group, which he began in 2011. Hanson’s personal and professional knowledge of planned giving and his work developing philanthropic strategies have been a great benefit to the University and the Jefferson Trust.

Hanson is a native of Birmingham, Alabama where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and two children. He also serves on the boards of CommerceOne Bank, Indian Springs School (Chair, Stewardship & Planned Giving), and the Sterne Agee Charitable Foundation (President). He is a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and past Chairman of the Birmingham Botanical Society.

Trustee Spotlight: Victoria Harker

Victoria HarkerVictoria Harker has a long history with the Jefferson Trust. She had been a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Managers for five years when she joined the Trust – she was there at the Trust’s inception and felt that it was only natural to become a Trustee to show her support and confidence in the effort.

Victoria chose UVA in 1982, in part because she aspired to become a lawyer, and because the University had one of the top five English Departments in the nation. She pursued an undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in Economics. After graduating in 1986, she spent several years working at a law firm, where she had the opportunity to help edit a legal book on business joint ventures. That experience was so fascinating she changed gears and ultimately earned her MBA in Finance in 1990 from American University. In addition to the Jefferson Trust, Victoria has served as Chair of the Board of Managers for the Alumni Association and has served a term on the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia.

Victoria has been able to share her positive UVA experience with her younger sister Ellen (College ‘88), as well as her sons Zach (College ‘15), Ethan (Curry ‘18), and Benjamin (College ‘20). As a student, some of her favorite memories include watching Speidel, Goodrich and Goggin perform at the Mineshaft, as well as seeing concerts and watching the basketball team play in U Hall. She also had a great deal of fun sledding down O-Hill toward the Treehouse on cafeteria trays. Another favorite UVA memory was created last fall on the steps of the Rotunda, at the announcement of Jim Ryan as UVA’s President-elect. “After serving for over a year on the search committee, this was a huge honor and very inspiring,” she said. “I know Jim will lead the University into its next century with great distinction.”

As a Trustee, Victoria’s favorite grants have been ones that provide seed money directly to students to help them start up small ventures and evaluate their commercial capabilities. This comes as no surprise, considering her fascination with and professional background in finance and investment. After receiving her MBA in Finance, Victoria led an illustrious career as the Chief Financial Officer for several companies. She currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for TENGA, Inc., a diversified media and digital marketing solutions company.

As she approaches the end of her six-year tenure as a Trustee, Victoria remains excited about the future of the Trust, particularly in its potential for new areas of investment and growth. “Serving on the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) Committee, I have seen what wonderful new areas investments like these can accelerate,” she said. “The Jefferson Trust is a student-facing investment fund and has great prospects to grow well into the future.” She also believes that the future investment climate will only continue to favor initiatives and organizations such as those funded by the Trust, as corporations and public institutions continue to look for areas to “put money to work,” particularly with regard to social justice and environmental conservation.

Trustee Spotlight: Grace Hobby Grundy

All Jefferson Trust trustees are generous community leaders, but Grace Hobby Grundy (SEAS ’12) may have the most interesting volunteer affiliation of all—she’s a member of the Mutton Bustin’ Committee.  Grace serves on the Houston Rodeo’s Mutton Bustin’ Committee, which prepares 5 year olds to suit up for the ultimate Texan adrenaline rush—sheep riding! She is not only true to her native Texas, she is also true to the University.  As a fourth year, she served as a class trustee and just completed her fifth year of service as a post-grad class trustee.  As an active member of the Jefferson Trust since 2012, Grace has served on the Grants Committee and led the committee as Chair this past year.

Grace is connected to the University through her classmates, whom she describes as incredible change makers; she also shares family connections, as the daughter, sister, wife, cousin, niece and sister-in-law to fellow Hoos. She says that as a trustee her connections to the University have expanded. Now she is more than a member of the SEAS class of 2012 and more than a member of a family of alums. “Working as a trustee with other UVA alums and parents has brought me into every class and school within UVA. As a trustee, I am called back to the University repeatedly to hear from deans, professors and students. I see the power and drive within the University that I didn’t fully grasp as an undergrad.”

One of the highlights of being a trustee is that “The Trust has a front row view to what is happening at the University. We see applicants with projects in early stages that often have not yet been made public to the University community. As a trustee, I have a voice in my financial influence at the University.”  She notes, “The Trust allows trustees to stay connected to their donations, their schools and with fellow trustees.”  From Grace Hobby Grundy’s front row seat, she states that at the University of Virginia “Times are good and the future is bright!”