April 10, 2007 -- Former U.Va. Rector Hovey S. Dabney will be honored by the University of Virginia on Founder's Day, April 13, with the planting of a white ash tree on the Lawn in front of Cocke Hall at 2 p.m.
Dabney, who died on Feb. 9, served as rector of his alma mater from 1992 to 1998 and was involved in many civic activities in the greater Charlottesville community.
In 1970, the University instituted an annual tree planting to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the design, planning and maintenance of the Grounds. Since then, a tree has been planted in a public ceremony presided over by the University President on Founder's Day.
Worthy N. Martin, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, said the University's Arboretum and Landscape Committee, which he chairs, decided to honor Dabney for his contributions to both the University and the community.
A Charlottesville native, Dabney was a World War II veteran. A B-17 radio operator, he was shot down over Hungary. Despite two broken ankles, he escaped through German lines and rejoined the American forces. He flew 24 more missions and, after the war, he returned home, where he enrolled at U.Va.
As an undergraduate, Dabney majored in political science and then graduated from the law school in 1949, starting work for the National Bank and Trust Co. of Charlottesville. He was president of the bank by 1963 and expanded the bank from five branches and $10 million in assets to 90 branches, with assets of $1.8 billion by 1993.
Dabney served with many professional, civic and service organizations, was on local school and electoral boards and chaired the Chamber of Commerce.
Then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder appointed Dabney to U.Va.'s Board of Visitors in 1990, and he was reappointed in 1994 by then-Gov. George Allen.
Among those for whom memorial trees have been planted are Edwin A. Alderman, the first president of the University, James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and on whose land part of the Grounds sits today, Jefferson biographer Dumas Malone and Edgar F. Shannon, fourth president of the University.
Thomas Jefferson's birthday has been marked since the first session of the University. In recent years, Founder's Day has been a joint celebration between the University and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation.
For more information on the tree planting, visit www.virginia.edu/architectoffice/memorialtree/officialList.html.