Larry Brett (MBA '79)
Why did you become a class agent?
Like many of us in this role, we were asked by the previous class agent. Once I started doing it, I found that it was an opportunity to stay in touch with the great friends I made at Darden. The Class of 1979 was relatively small, only about 145 people, and I feel I still have a personal connection with most of the people in the class.
Why is giving back to Darden important to you?
My Darden experience was one of the most formative parts of my life, and whatever small role I can play in helping the school move forward is payback for what Darden has given me.
What advice would you offer a new class agent?
Don’t look at being a class agent as strictly fundraising; look at it as an opportunity to reconnect your classmates back to their positive experiences at Darden.
Why do you give to the Darden Annual Fund?
Giving to the Annual Fund is not only a way to financially support the school, but it is a vote of confidence for Darden. That is way I am a big believer in participation, because it shows to the outside world the level of alumni support for the school. Knowing how important Darden was in every graduate’s life, Annual Fund participation should be way over 50 percent.
What has been your most successful fundraising strategy?
There is no substitute for personal contact; either by e-mail, phone call or a written note. People want to give to and for other people, so a personal ask is always appreciated.
How long have you been a class agent?
At least 20 years or more.
How do you talk to your classmates about giving?
I try and emphasize that all gifts are important no matter the amount. We all go through ups and downs in how much we can give from year to year; but consistent support shows we have made Darden a priority. And when the market does finally turnaround, maybe we can give a little more then.
What is one word to describe your Darden experience?
What is your greatest memory from Darden?
Two great memories: My study group and my first year, first semester Section B. I still stay in touch with folks from both. I just had lunch with one of my study group members from Canada who was in Virginia picking up her son after his first year at U.Va.
Which Darden professor influenced you the most?
C. Ray Smith and Jack Weber really stand out for me. C. Ray made accounting interesting, an amazing feat, and Jack, who taught Organizational Behavior, would put us through a series of yoga like relaxation exercises to prepare us for accounting and QA tests.
If you wish to volunteer as a class agent or have questions about ways to volunteer for Darden, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.