Mission & History

Mission & History

The College Foundation's mission is to raise and invest private funds for the benefit of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and to advise and support the Dean.

The Foundation is governed by a 40-member volunteer Board of Trustees, and is organizationally aligned with the Dean of Arts & Sciences.


As the University concluded its successful $1 billion campaign in 2000, a few prescient College alumni began to look ahead. Christine P. Gustafson (International Business and Finance ’82) was one of them.

“We had helped the College surpass its campaign goal, but there were many funding priorities still unmet. We saw the need for a formal fundraising entity—a nonprofit foundation—to which donors could give with confidence, certain their money would go where they wanted it.”


With a major source of private funds in place, the College could take a seat at the University’s planning table and chart its own course for the future. Gustafson, along with fellow alumni John L. Nau III (History ’68) and Alan Y. Roberts (English ’64), obtained approval for and ultimately established the College Foundation of the University of Virginia at a festive ceremony on April 20, 2001. Roberts and Gustafson co-wrote the foundation’s bylaws and served as the first two presidents.

This young College Foundation raised $411 million dollars for the College during the University’s last 10-year, $3 billion campaign, which ended in 2013. Their signature initiative was the South Lawn project -- a visionary project so necessary to the future well-being of the College. The South Lawn project concluded during the great recession. The Foundation turned its attention to making it possible for the College to hire top-shelf faculty who would replace nearly 250 faculty members whose retirements were fast approaching. To respond to this critical need, the Faculty Forward campaign was born, raising $130 million dollars over four years before its successful completion in June of 2016. The College Foundation Board of Trustees continues to raise money for the ambitious set of priorities for the College that encompass the Honor the Future campaign.

The Foundation’s trustees serve on various committees, including development, finance and investment, audit, donor relations, and marketing and media. From time to time, trustees serve on University task forces or on search committees for senior administrative positions in the College. Many have hosted events that bring the College dean and faculty in contact with alumni around the country.



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