University of Virginia receives $27.7 million for democracy initiative

University of Virginia receives $27.7 million for democracy initiative

The University of Virginia has announced a $27.5 million gift from alumnus John L. Nau III ('68) to help advance the study and instruction of the history and principles of democracy.

Awarded through the Nau Foundation, the largest gift ever to the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will support UVA's recently launched Democracy Initiative and its Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy. The gift will support an endowment for the initiative's Core Lab and research on the history, principles, and philosophy of democracy; the creation of ten endowed faculty positions across a range of departments, including history, politics, classics, and philosophy; and up to four visiting positions. In addition, $2 million of the gift will be set aside for the dean of Arts & Sciences to use at his discretion. Coupled with matching gifts totaling $17 million, the gift will have a total impact of more than $44 million.

A longtime supporter of the university, the foundation previously committed $16.6 million to establish and endow the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History, and awarded $11 million for the construction of Nau Hall, home of the Corcoran Department of History.

"UVA was established on the belief that an educated citizenry is vital to the success of democracy," said Ian Baucom, the Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences. "Thanks to John and the Nau Foundation, we have the resources to bring the Core Lab to life as the nerve center for the initiative and to fuel our well-established Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy. His gift secures our ability to gather great minds to research fundamental questions at the heart of democracy, from ancient times to the present, in the U.S. and around the globe, to engage our students in that pursuit, and to share that knowledge with the world."

(Photo credit: Sanjay Suchak)

"Nau Foundation Gift Fuels $44 Million Investment in UVA Democracy Projects." University of Virginia Press Release 05/20/2020.