The University of Virginia Board of Visitors will get a makeover in the fall with the addition of four members, including Norfolk State University’s former rector and a couple of major contributors to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign.
On Monday afternoon, McAuliffe’s office announced the new members: L.D. Britt, of Suffolk; Frank Maxwell “Rusty” Conner III, of Alexandria; Barbara J. Fried, of Crozet; and John G. Macfarlane III, of Darien, Connecticut. All four have attended the university at one time and have stayed involved with UVa since.
They’ll replace four members whom the governor opted against reappointing.
Three of the four new members contributed to McAuliffe’s campaign, including $130,000 in cash contributions from Fried. Conner’s contributions to Democrats since 1996 total more than $220,000, including $50,000 in cash contributions to McAuliffe since December 2008.
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said the donations were not a factor.
“The Governor’s selections for these and all appointments are based on one standard: who is the best person for the job?” Coy said in an email. “These leaders have the experience and vision to help lead Virginia’s higher education system forward to better prepare Virginia students to compete in a global economy.”
The new members will begin July 1, replacing Hunter E. Craig, of Charlottesville; Marvin W. Gilliam Jr., of Bristol; Timothy B. Robertson, of Virginia Beach; and Linwood H. Rose, of Harrisonburg.
All four of the outgoing members were appointed by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, and were eligible for reappointment. All but Rose donated $30,000 or more each — topped by Gilliam’s $105,000 — to McDonnell, also a former attorney general and delegate.
Britt is the Brickhouse Professor of Surgery and chairman of surgery at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. He is a practicing physician with experience in higher education, including stints as Norfolk State’s rector and a regent at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from UVa.
Britt contributed $1,000 to the McAuliffe campaign.
Conner is a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and a lifetime member of the UVa Alumni Association. He received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from UVa.
Fried, a former real estate executive and attorney who obtained a master’s degree in history from the university, is current chairwoman of the UVa Foundation and a member and former chairwoman of the state advisory board of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.
Macfarlane, an alumnus of the Darden School of Business, is former chairman and director of the UVa Investment Management Co. and former chief operating officer of Tudor Investment Corporation in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Tudor Investment was founded by major UVa donor Paul Tudor Jones. Last fall, The Washington Post reported that Jones and other wealthy UVa alumni were lobbying then-candidate McAuliffe to consider changing the way UVa board members are selected.
The alumni asked McAuliffe to consider a system where eight of the board’s 17 members are selected by UVa alumni and supporters rather than by gubernatorial appointment.
Coy said Macfarlane’s connection to Tudor Investment had no link to his appointment.
Macfarlane did not contribute to McAuliffe’s campaign, but donated $2,500 to former Gov. Mark Warner in 2001 and $2,000 to former Gov. Tim Kaine from 2004 to 2005. Both Warner and Kaine are Democrats serving in the state’s two U.S. Senate seats.
Craig, appointed by McDonnell in 2010, was one of three board members who called for a meeting to consider the reinstatement of UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan shortly after her forced resignation in 2012.
Gilliam, also appointed in 2010, abstained from a recent vote to approve the core of the school’s proposed five-year strategic plan, estimated at the time to cost $564 million. He also voted against a tuition increase approved in April.
“I had hoped that I would be reappointed to the BOV and am disappointed that I was not,” Gilliam said in an email. “Serving on the BOV has been an honor and one of the most memorable experiences of my life. From my first year as an appointee of a Republican governor with 12 carryover appointees from a Democrat governor, I have been impressed by the Board’s dedication to the University ... and hope that the new appointees will continue this rich tradition of service to the University and the Commonwealth.”
Rose was appointed in 2012, the same year he retired as president of James Madison University. Last year, he co-chaired a special planning committee on the strategic plan.
Robertson, son of televangelist Pat Robertson, was appointed in 2011. He is co-chairman of the Special Committee on Governance and Engagement, which is looking at ways for the board to improve its governance system and foster communication with faculty and staff.
Rose said he would have been honored to serve another term but had no ill will toward McAuliffe.
“The Governor has the responsibility to match individual talents with institutional needs and I respect his judgment,” Rose wrote in an email, adding that he’d consider another term.
“I have enjoyed my time on the Board and hope that I was able to help advance the University’s progression toward its goals,” he wrote.
Craig and Robertson were unavailable for comment at press time.