School of Architecture Receives Largest-Ever Gift of $20 Million

The anonymous $20 million bequest is the largest gift ever given to UVA’s School of Architecture. (Photo courtesy School of Architecture)

An anonymous bequest of $20 million will mark the 100th anniversary of the University of Virginia School of Architecture and benefit primarily the school’s Department of Architectural History. The gift will enhance excellence in scholarship and expand opportunities for global learning experiences.

Once realized, the bequest will create three endowed funds to support an international travel program, two professorships in architectural history – one with a focus on European studies and another centered on Asian studies – and fellowships for Ph.D. and graduate students.

“As the School of Architecture prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, I want to thank these donors for helping us make the next 100 years even better,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “This gift will build bridges between UVA and other countries, help unlock discoveries in architectural history, and make it easier for more talented students to study here. On behalf of everyone who will benefit from this gift, I am extremely grateful.”

The School of Architecture has offered courses in architectural history since its establishment in 1919, when it was led by Sidney Fiske Kimball. The school’s first graduating class in 1922 consisted of three students, who were awarded Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees.

Today, the School of Architecture includes an enrollment of more than 600 students and offers undergraduate degrees in architecture, urban and environmental planning and architectural history, as well as a Ph.D. in the Constructed Environment and four master’s degree programs: Master of Architectural History, Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Urban and Environmental Planning.

“We are sincerely grateful for this tremendous gift to the Architecture School and the incredible generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of the donors,” Dean and Edward Elson Professor of the School of Architecture Ila Berman said. “Their bequest will ensure we continue building on the school’s legacy of scholarship and teaching, as well as enabling students to expand their intellectual horizons. This gift will be truly transformational in advancing our mission to deepen our pursuit of knowledge and inspire students to create a more just, courageous and compelling future for all.”

Celebrations for the School of Architecture’s 100-year anniversary will begin Friday. The weekend of festivities and events in Campbell Hall and on Grounds will include tours, open houses, panel discussions, exhibitions, receptions and more to commemorate the Architecture School’s history and celebrate its future.