Three new members of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, all UVa graduates, were announced by Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday, including a registered Virginia lobbyist and two investment capitalists.
Kevin J. Fay, of McLean; Frank E. Genovese, of Midlothian; and John A. Griffin, of New York City, will take seats on the UVa board effective immediately.
McDonnell also reappointed Vice Rector William H. Goodwin Jr. to the board. Goodwin was appointed last summer as a non-voting member and then was appointed by McDonnell in January to replace R.J. Kirk, who resigned in October.
The three new members of the UVa board not only attended UVa, but have contributed money to school projects and teach in the business and commerce schools. They also have donated to political candidates in the commonwealth -- mostly Republicans.
Fay is president of Alcalde & Fay, a lobbying firm that represents Virginia Falcon Safety Products, the Virginia Mitigation Banking Association, the city of Roanoke, Prince William County and the town of Chincoteague, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign contributions and lobbying organizations. The firm has numerous clients outside the state, including municipalities, government agencies and community colleges across the country.
Fay graduated from UVa with honors, according to Alcalde & Fay’s website. He has a law degree from American University.
According to the access project, Fay contributed $6,000 to McDonnell’s run for governor in 2009 and $5,000 for the governor’s inauguration. He’s contributed more than $42,000 to various campaigns in the commonwealth since 1997, including Democrats and Republicans.
His company has donated $10,000 to Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s current campaign for governor, according to the project.
Genovese is president of The Rothbury Corp., a Richmond-based acquisition and investment company. He earned a masters degree in business administration from UVa, is a visiting lecturer in business administration at UVa’s Darden School of Business and has taught at Darden since 1997. He has served as a trustee of the Darden School Foundation, including as chairman of the school's building and finance committees. He received the 1998 Charles C. Abbott Award in recognition of his service to the school.
Genovese donated $60,000 to McDonnell’s 2009 campaign, according to the public access project, and since 1996 has contributed $436,800 to the Republican Party and GOP candidates.
Griffin is the founder of hedge fund Blue Ridge Capital LLC in New York and has a bachelor’s degree from UVa’s McIntire School of Commerce. He founded the McIntire Center for Financial Innovation, and in 2012 donated $5 million to the school for the Blue Ridge Leadership Fellows Program.
He’s also a donor to Republican political action committees and candidates in Virginia, according to the public access project. In 2010 he donated $50,000 to McDonnell’s Opportunity Virginia PAC, which raises money on McDonnell’s behalf during his incumbency. Griffin also donated $50,000 to Republican Jerry Kilgore’s unsuccessful bid for governor in 2005.
The new members will join UVa’s board under new Rector George K. Martin, a Richmond lawyer and the first African-American rector at the university. Martin replaces Helen E. Dragas, whose term as rector ended June 30.
Dragas’ rectorship was marked by tumult and national headlines when the board’s executive committee forced the university’s president to resign.
The move surprised and angered communities within the school and beyond, leading to numerous protests on the Lawn and President Teresa A. Sullivan’s reinstatement.
It also prompted the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, UVa’s accrediting body, to place the school on a one-year warning in December. The association certifies that courses taught at schools of higher education are college-credit worthy and that governing procedures are clearly defined, free from political manipulation and open to the public.
In a warning letter written to the university, the association worried that a minority of board members could run the show; that the board lacked specific procedures for dismissing a university president; and that faculty were not included in deliberations.
The board has attempted to address those issues through changes in board procedures, adding faculty to committees and changing policies. Some of those changes will be on the new board’s agenda in September.