In Memoriam: Donald Riggin, Retired UVA Senior Project Manager

April 12, 2023
Portrait of Donald Riggin

Donald Riggin was involved in a variety of construction and renovation projects during his 17 years at UVA. (UVA Facilities Management photo)

Donald C. Riggin, a senior project manager in the University of Virginia’s Academic Division who worked on some of the Grounds’ most iconic buildings in a 17-year career, died March 22 at age 80.

Riggin came to work at the University in 1988 after a 20-year career as a civil engineer in the U.S. Navy.

With his master’s degree in civil engineering, he was involved in a variety of projects on Grounds, including Hereford College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science modernization, the Elson Student Health Center addition and renovation, the Central Grounds Parking Garage and University Bookstore, and the John Paul Jones Arena.

“His advice was often sought and always appreciated,” said Garth Anderson, facilities historian. “He made project summaries for each completed project that included the unique information of that one, and he made enough copies for the next eight to 10 years. I went to him with a question about Hereford College, he leaned back and fingered a blue folder and pulled out a sheet; ‘That information is on the back side of the sheet. You can keep it.’”

Riggin received numerous awards and recognitions during his years at UVA, such as Facilities Management’s highest achievement award for exceptional leadership in recognition of his management of the 72,000-square-foot Special Collections Library project.

A citation presented at his 2005 retirement read: “We acknowledge Don as the Dean of our profession and we honor him as a generous, caring colleague and mentor and ask that he accept our grateful appreciation for his many years of devoted service.”

The citation continued: “Throughout his tenure Don has set the standard for professionalism in project management, smoothly executing projects of the highest complexity and challenge, which earned him a very high level of respect from all members of the University community while at the same time being a generous friend and mentor to his colleagues.”

Riggin is survived by his wife, Mary V. Riggin; their sons, Christopher and Scott Riggin; his brother, Douglas Riggin and sister-in-law, Suzanne Riggin. The family suggests donations in his memory be sent to the East Rivanna Fire Company.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications