Photos: Alumni Reunion Weekend!


We’re excited to welcome our alumni back to Grounds for a fantastic Reunion weekend! To see photos shared via #URDarden, be sure to visit our ongoing Storify board!

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Quick Quotes: Experience

Richard P. Dahling (MBA ’87)

Richard P. Dahling (MBA '87)

Richard P. Dahling (MBA ’87)

“Fifty-nine section members critiqued six of my speeches in our A & C class; with thousands of them now delivered in 30 states, I am thankful the toughest audience was in Charlottesville.”

Vern Howard (MBA ’87)

“My favorite part is rekindling relationships made in those days of cases, cold calls, Jack Weber’s hot tub, the Corner, mugs at Thatchers and grad happy hour.”

Karen Smythe (MBA ’87)

“Darden taught me how to focus on the important priorities and not try to do it all.”

Matt Fischer (EMBA ’08)

“My Darden MBA gave me skills I’d always wanted, useful knowledge, life-changing experiences and lifelong friends. The experience helped me understand and have confidence in my talents and capabilities as an executive and a leader. Without Darden, I’d never have had the belief in myself and my capabilities to move my family and take a job halfway around the world.”

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Quick Quotes: Career

Adam HealeyAdam Healey (MBA ’05)

“On the first day that I walked into Darden, I knew that I was there to acquire the tools and education and be in an environment that would make me a better entrepreneur.”



Bob Blue (EMBA ’08)

“Darden gave me the tools to understand our business better, digging into the details while not losing focus on the big picture. I gained valuable insights from the faculty and my fellow students.”

Thomas Benjamin (EMBA ’08)

“Our Darden experience equipped me to cut through the haze and focus on what matters in my role as COO. What are the assumptions in your forecast? Where did you get your data? Have you considered the collateral effects? What options have we overlooked? As a defense contractor, we’re in a very volatile and shrinking market, but we’re finding new ways to have an impact and invest in the professional analysts that our nation will need in the next decade.”

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Quick Quotes: Experience

Scott CreightonScott Creighton (MBA ’82)

“I have had the unique opportunity to have visited Darden a number of times since graduation and recruit for three different companies. The adage ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ has never been so true. Thirty plus years later, I still see and feel the camaraderie, the ‘pride in section,’ the pervasive feeling of teamship, the intellectual curiosity and the demonstration of the capacity to always do a little bit more than you thought possible.”



David Beatty (MBA ’72)

“I recall painting Professor Brandt Allen’s family room, which Peter Rice and I did on a Saturday to get a passable ‘C’ for Accounting. And of course, from Larry Killgallon: ‘We have to elect David Beatty as class president just to keep him in school.’ And you did!”

Rick Garnett (MBA ’75) about Karen Juul-Nielsen (MBA ’78)

“I was introduced to my future wife by fellow classmate, Tom Phillips. I convinced her to attend Darden three years later, so I got to experience First Year all over again — great fun for me! We were the first Darden couple to wed. Dean Sheppard attended our wedding. In his wedding toast, he promised our children would have guaranteed admission to the School!”

Suzanne Oldham (MBA ’91)

“While the first few weeks of Darden found me pulling 20-hour days holed up with my study group, the process of listening and debating cases for long hours laid the groundwork to effectively manage and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Together we learned how to quickly and effectively assess a case, and this is a skill I still use today to summarize clients’ issues and opportunities.”

Gwendolyn Boyce (MBA ’07)

“My experiences with Darden’s Thursday Night Drinking Club were so inspiring that I’ve established a successful career over the last six years marketing alcohol brands.”

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Alumni Stories: Experience

Stacy Vermylen (MBA ’75)

“I vividly remember Professor Newton saying at our graduation that he had one and only one piece of advice for all of us. We waited anxiously for that tidbit, thinking it would be some critical business skill or tip that would make or break our careers. He surprised us all by saying something to the effect of, ‘Never drive after midnight unless you absolutely have to!’ After my corporate career, I took a nonprofit position addressing the issue of drug and alcohol abuse and its toll on our communities. Toughest job I ever had! But I still remember his words!”

David Stotler (MBA ’85)

“Adele and I initially met in our first semester section under the watchful eyes of Sherwood Frye and C. Ray Smith. We have enjoyed keeping up with many classmates over the years as we travel. Recently one of our daughters moved from California to Boston to begin a graduate school program. When she needed a place to live for a week before moving to her new apartment, our classmate Robert ‘Memphis’ King made sure she was well provided for in her first days of transition.”

Jerry Connolly (MBA ’88)

“I would have never been able to graduate from Darden without the help and support of my study group who I will be forever indebted to: Thanks, Jonathan Wallace, Geir Lie, Steve Wilhoit and Dave Tucker. My contribution was to be the grand motivator for at 10 p.m. every evening while our study group was in session in one of the classrooms, I would get up out of my seat and run from desktop to desktop throughout the classroom yelling at the top of my lungs to get the group fired up for the next day’s cases. I have to say my study group was struck with fear the first time I carried on this way.”

Brad Holmes (MBA ’91)

“One of the handful of Darden truths that has stuck with me from the first time I heard it from Professor Horniman is that “everything goes back to OB.” In case after case, after the fur flew in class from one form of analysis, modelling, or other systematic search for the answer, the human element of the case always seemed to come back into focus. Would the CEO really do that, given her history with her counterpart in the story? Could he really make that change without taking into consideration the effect on morale? The cold hard fact that organizations are built by people, and that squishy element of management is essential to business success has kept me on my toes and has forced me to evolve over the years as younger people enter the workforce and my roles in managing them have evolved. Not saying I have it figured out — far from it; rather, it is the part of being in business that makes it an ever-changing challenge that more often than not reminds me of my first year OB class, and the whirling dervish that is Alec Horniman.” 

Mark McDermott (MBA ’92)

“While at Darden (’90-’92), I was president of the Darden Distinguished Speaker Series. While we brought in a number of great speakers, including the publisher of Sports Illustrated, chairman of Capital Cities/ABC, chairman of Baxter International, the most fascinating person I met was José Mindlin. Mr. Mindlin was founder of Metal Leve, an automobile piston company in Brazil; but more notably, he was the owner of the largest private library in Latin America, and a collector and preserver of rare books. Mr. Mindlin requested that I set up a meeting with the curator of the UVa Library. I had the privilege of accompanying him to this meeting, where we received a tour of the UVa Library vaults. There, I got to see some of Thomas Jefferson’s original documents and plans for the University. But even more special, Mr. Mindlin owned a book in his library in Brazil that had a sister book in the UVa library. When Mr. Mindlin described the book to the curator (side note, the two were really like kids in a candy store), the curator knew the exact book and retrieved it. Mr. Mindlin opened the book to a specific page and saw an illustration on that page that was the “second half” of the illustration in the sister book in his library. To him, it was putting two pieces of distant puzzles together. He sat back with a tear in his eye and said he had been waiting over 30 years to see that one illustration. A memory that will truly last a lifetime.”

Jay Subhash (MBA ’11)

“I’ll never forget the Darden Halloween party at X Lounge. I was on the dance floor and only a few feet away from Tim Foley when the DJ started playing ‘Thriller.’ Foley broke out some dance moves and the floor cleared Then from across the room out of nowhere, Scott Kim jumped into the circle and the two of them executed a flawless reenactment of the Thriller music video! I later learned that the two of them had rehearsed it for weeks leading up to the event, but I still like to pretend that the world’s best dance-off all happened spontaneously that one fateful night. around him. Then from across the room out of nowhere, Scott Kim jumped into the circle and the two of them executed a flawless reenactment of the Thriller music video! I later learned that the two of them had rehearsed it for weeks leading up to the event, but I still like to pretend that the world’s best dance-off all happened spontaneously that one fateful night.”

Ian Thomas (MBA ’11)

“The China GBE was an experience I will never forget. So many of us had never been to Asia and it was an eye-opening experience (for a number of reasons) and a bucket-list moment in my life. After spending several days in Beijing, we finally arrived in Shanghai and had a free night to do whatever we wanted. What followed was several hours of karaoke, language communication problems, a few arguments over how to operate the karaoke machine, lost voices and some epic pictures of Darden students singing like their lives depended on it. ‘Man in the Mirror’ and ‘Country Road’ never sounded so good … reunion trip in 2015?”

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Quick Quotes: Community

Marie Skjold-Jorgensen (MBA ’11)

“The first person I met at Darden was Felipe Gonzalez Rosas. We met during a mandatory crash course in American culture (it’s where internationals are taught about Americans’ dislike of BO and shown how to give an appropriate handshake). I don’t know if we passed the “test,” but I found out that Felipe liked Denmark a lot and so we became good friends. To me, Darden means friendships. Lifelong ones. I am writing this from Oaxaca, Mexico. Felipe is getting married to the beautiful Sofia Valentina Ibarra today. They met at Darden. Salute!”

Ted Kappler (MBA ’71)

“I have continued my involvement with Darden as my son and daughter-in-law both graduated from the School.”

Brad Smith (MBA ’83)

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Chris P. for not giving up on me and regularly harassing me to attend a reunion. Living on the West Coast is hardly an excuse for not returning to Charlottesville more frequently, but life presents its scheduling issues. I had a great time and will surely return before our 60th reunion!”

Anne Henkel (MBA ’83)

About Reunion weekend: “You can tell when groups of people graduated just by eavesdropping on their conversations. Those youngsters were talking finance, accounting, M&A; us oldsters were discussing college-aged kids, grandkids, aches and pains, surgeries — in short LIFE! For anyone who hasn’t attended a reunion or kept up with your classmates, do so. Life is short and we never know what curve balls are tossed our way.”

Lily West (MBA ’12)

“I’ve been to four Darden weddings (Darden grads marrying other Darden grads) in the past year, which is incredible! Also, I want to start a company, and I’ve been talking to other Darden classmates about co-founding, investing or getting involved in a variety of ways. Half of the time, we just bounce ideas off of each other!”

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Photo: Fred and Mary Gene Siller

Fred and his wife Mary Gene

Fred and his wife Mary Gene

Fred Siller (MBA ’75)

“I met my wife Mary Gene at a First Year/Nursing School mixer. Still going strong 40 years later!”

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Quick Quotes: Career

Roy Cockburn (MBA ’67)

“Darden enabled a history major (who had never even had an economics course) to have a reasonably successful career in finance. And, it allowed my son (also a history major) to do the same thing exactly 30 years later.”

Ron Trzcinski (MBA ’71)

“I recruited Perry Doermann to work with him at Sealy, after which we continued to work together at the Original Mattress factory.”

Howard Cobb (MBA ’67)

“I hired four MBA graduates from Darden in the 70s and early 80s. One became a very close friend and is still to this day.”

Kevin Stein (MBA ’96)

“Darden has had a big personal and professional impact on my life. Some of my best friends over the past 17 years are from my Darden study group (Nosal, Bhagat, Martien, Yu). On the job front, I have used the Darden network to help land roles at AT&T and my present position at Legrand where I work with Halsey Cook, who many of you know as our D’96 Carrier International Field Project sponsor.” 

Thayler Bigelow (MBA ’67)

“I’ve recommended, maybe, ten applicants, including my son-in-law, who have attended, graduated and gone on to very successful careers.”

Julie James (MBA ’12)

“When I started my job at Deloitte, I was nervous about getting staffed on my first project. The Darden network within Deloitte reached out to me to help me with staffing. On my first project, both my manager and senior manager were Darden alumni, and both provided invaluable help and advice in helping me transition to consulting.”

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Quick Quotes: Experience

Bob Courain (MBA ’67)

“I met my wife, Ruth, during our first year and we’ve been together 47 years.”

David Beatty (MBA ’72)

“One that speaks to the warmth and caring of the Darden community was when I got out as a LTJG and my GI Bill monthly $240 did not make it to our apartment in time for rent payment at Barracks Rd Apartments or for Thanksgiving dinner first year. Glen Dunlop, one of the professors, gave Christine and me $100 and said pay it back anytime or never. We did have Bob Harrity for Thanksgiving dinner. We were not evicted. And I paid Glen back.”

Jerry Norton (MBA ’77)

“At the conclusion of exams our first semester in 1975, I remember joining Irving Groves and Professor John Snook in a brass quartet. We played from the balcony in what was then the ‘new’ Darden School building, serenading everyone in celebration of the end of exams and in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays.”

Peer Nielsen (MBA ’83)

“Whilst we live in very different times from 1983 — what was most comforting to discover was that the fundamental values and approach of the Darden School remain unchanged. And this discovery has been borne out through my work with the School over the last couple of years, participating in the write-up of a couple of cases of the work that another Darden graduate and I have been doing in China. So my connection to the School has been further strengthened, and it is clear that the Darden School is a force worldwide in the MBA and executive education fields.”

Bob Garrahan (MBA ’85)

“My son, Andrew, was born at the beginning of our first year. Later, Andrew attended U.Va. as an undergraduate where he met his future wife, Emily. At our 25th reunion, I was pleased to introduce Emily to classmates and note that she was a soon-to-be Darden graduate. Now I am looking forward to our 30th reunion weekend, which will be the same as Emily’s 5th.”

Kate and Kevin Marks (both MBA ’96)

“Met my spouse in Section D first year. Now running our own business together and happily living in Charlottesville (the best place on Earth) with two kids!”

Jessica Pohl Sinnarajah (MBA ’07)

“I met my husband during Darden’s 2005 Admit Weekend. We were both signing up for GMO Club. Neither of us thought anything of it (mostly because it can be difficult to remember everyone you met that weekend). It wasn’t until I invited him to a friend’s party before our FY summer internships did we realize that we cared for each other.”

Ben Noland (MBA ’11)

“I will always remember the facial expressions of Darden: that look of pride and gratification when a classmate finally landed a coveted job offer, that reaction of suppressed enjoyment when a classmate received a funny e-mail in the middle of class, that burned-out sense of relief as a classmate handed in a take-home exam three minutes before the deadline.”

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Quick Quotes: Community

SallyGensterRobling_2013Sally Genster Robling (MBA ’82)

“I found my career, and lifelong friends, at Darden. Karen Kjorlien Phillips, Catherine Colavecchio Foster and I have had a thirty-three year conversation, often interrupted by work and family, with many long pauses, but one that has enriched my life beyond measure. These wonderful friendships were forged in the caring crucible of Darden.”



Hugh Ewing (MBA ’71)

“I have been able to become involved in several successful transactions and also serve on corporate boards with Darden friends, including my roommates George Logan and Gerry Caughman, and also John Frye and John Colley. John is still teaching at Darden!”

Erin Goodman (MBA ’12)

“Before I went to Darden, I couldn’t have anticipated the amazing people that I would meet. These friendships have led to trips in four continents, so many birthday and wedding celebrations, and group texts that get me through crazy consulting days.”

Rich Reibman (MBA ’67)

“My dad (that’s right, my father) decided to go to Darden after I graduated.”


“The relationships I built at Darden helped me not only for two incredibly formative years, but also since graduation — and I’m sure well into my future. Darden’s sense of community and engagement is what keeps all of us very tightly connected and supportive of one another. Also, since I recruited through an on-Grounds company, I’ve experienced the strong Darden network every single day — both through friendship and mentorship. The bond with Darden alumni — especially ones I didn’t even overlap with — has often pushed me professionally and developmentally.”

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