The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Human Development today announced a $10 million gift from Jane Batten to support professorships and fellowships in early childhood education. The gift qualified for a match through UVA’s Bicentennial Professors Fund, resulting in a total impact of $16.3 million for the Curry School.
Batten’s gift will support the creation of the Batten Bicentennial Professorships in Early Childhood Education, funding two emerging and two distinguished scholars, as well as the Batten Bicentennial Fellowships in Early Childhood Education, which will support two graduate fellows.
“This truly transformative gift will accelerate our efforts to advance research and program development, making a global impact on the quality of education offered to young children,” said Bob Pianta, dean of the Curry School. “Jane has been a visionary leader in improving education for preschoolers in Virginia. Through the support that this gift provides, the Curry School will be uniquely positioned as a worldwide leader of early childhood education research and policy.”
While Jane Batten, wife of the late Frank Batten Sr., is often noted for her role in founding the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, as well as her support of the Darden School of Business, she has been equally active in the field of early childhood education. Her work with E3: Elevate Early Education, a Virginia nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for investment in early education, led to the creation in 2015 of the New E3 School in Norfolk.
Batten is eager to advance the cause at UVA. “I’m delighted to support an initiative that’s so close to my heart,” she said. “I’ve long been a passionate champion of early childhood education, and it is fulfilling to provide the Curry School with resources that will enable it to generate new knowledge in the field.”
UVA President Jim Ryan, himself a parent and ardent proponent of early childhood education, is enthusiastic about Batten’s gift and the impact it will have on the Curry School’s work.
“UVA is a better place in so many ways because of Jane Batten,” he said. “Her latest gift will help students and faculty at the Curry School give children everywhere a stronger start. Early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in our future, and I am incredibly grateful to Jane for her vision and generosity.”