April 26, 2008 — During a sunny noontime ceremony held on the Lawn Friday, the McIntire School of Commerce officially dedicated its state-of-the-art new home in Rouss and Robertson halls. The 132,000-square-foot Robertson Hall adjoins historic Rouss Hall, creating a 156,000-square-foot academic complex on the Lawn.
Speaking to an audience of hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni were University President John T. Casteen III; McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml; principal building donor John A. Griffin, a 1985 McIntire graduate; and financier Julian Robertson, for whom the new building was named at Griffin's request. Fourth-year student Brian Gavron also spoke.
Robertson, regarded as one of the greatest investors of all time, is one of the founding fathers of the hedge fund industry. Robertson has also been a dedicated friend to the McIntire School, and hired and mentored dozens of McIntire and U.Va. graduates. Tiger Management, which Robertson led from 1980 to 2000, was for many years the largest hedge fund in the world, and it was there that he trained a generation of "Tiger Cubs," including Griffin, who went on to become the founder and president of Blue Ridge Capital.
Casteen, reflecting on Robertson and Griffin's remarkable mentor-student bond, commented that Rouss and Robertson halls stand as a "monument to the power of mentoring and teaching," embodying the spirit in which the University was conceived. Casteen went on to say that, more than being a monument, the buildings together comprise "one of the finest learning environments on any campus, anywhere." Designed to foster community, faculty-student interaction, and interdisciplinary learning, McIntire's state-of-the-art new buildings are designed to "equip young men and women with the power to shape the world and their own lives," Casteen said.
Zeithaml, calling the day "historic" and "the realization of many people's collective ambition for the school," said that the new buildings would serve as a catalyst for collaboration and innovation for the University, the College of Arts & Sciences and the Commerce School.
Zeithaml noted that the new buildings represent the culmination of nearly 10 years of planning, and that their existence is the result of hard work, luck, tremendous support from alumni, friends, faculty and staff, and being "a little crazy."
In addition to recognizing the generosity and support of Griffin, Robertson and Casteen, Zeithaml also thanked longtime McIntire Foundation Board Trustee and supporter Jeffrey C. Walker, a 1977 McIntire graduate.
Gavron commented that Rouss and Robertson halls serve not merely as a house for the McIntire School, but as a home. Quoting famed newspaperman H.L. Mencken, Gavron said, "A home is not merely a transient shelter: Its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it."
Gavron further remarked that the buildings, in reflecting the dedication of numerous faculty, staff and alumni, embody the essence of McIntire.
Echoing Casteen's comments, Griffin, who teaches a popular investment class at McIntire, also spoke of the incredible impact that teachers and mentors can have. Griffin cited Henry Adams, who quipped, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Griffin spoke at length about the invaluable lessons —commercial and personal — he'd learned from both Julian and Josie Robertson over the course of some 20 years of friendship. He also spoke of the encouragement he'd received from his mother, who advised him to "do what you love, and love what you do."
Robertson provided the event's final commentary, saying that he was "overwhelmed" to have one of the world's best business schools housed in a building named for him. Noting that McIntire had provided him with numerous outstanding friends and supporters over the years, Robertson said, "I ought to have the label 'made by McIntire' on the back of my neck."