Henry Skelsey, a 1984 graduate of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a trustee of the Darden School Foundation, received the Charles C. Abbott Award - the highest honor Darden bestows on members of its alumni - on Saturday, 27 April. The award was announced during Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner's State of the School program, held as part of the 2013 Darden Alumni Reunion.
The annual award recognizes Darden alumni for their exceptional and lasting contributions to the School. Skelsey was selected from among more than 30 nominees, and the award was presented to him - as a surprise - by Jennifer Finn (MBA '00), chair of the Darden School Alumni Board of Directors.
Skelsey has served for more than seven years as a member of the Foundation board of trustees, including two as chairman of the board. During his tenure on the board, Skelsey created and was the first chairman of the Engagement Committee, which is dedicated to developing alumni loyalty through great communication and dynamic engagement. He created, with Professor Ken Eades, the series "Hot Topics in Finance," which brings leading alumni practitioners working in the finance industry into the MBA classroom to share their experiences and wisdom with current students.
Seven years ago, he also held the first Admissions yield dinner, inviting students accepted to Darden to his home in Rye, New York, to connect with Darden alumni. Darden alumni now host eight yield dinners around the country per year. The dinners make a significant difference in the School's ability to attract top students.
"I took so many important lessons from my time as a student at Darden, it is important to me that we all engage and give back to help the next generation of students," said Skelsey. "Get involved. If you have an idea to support the School, be entrepreneurial and innovative and make it happen. It has been such a pleasure to help grow great ideas at Darden."
Skelsey is a co-founder and managing partner of the private equity firm PRC Venture Partners LLC. He has spent more than 25 years in the private equity industry.
As a member of the Dean's Global Advisory Council, he has played an important role in raising awareness of and forging connections for the Darden School in China. He was instrumental in the launch of Darden's Global Leadership Forum in Shanghai; the second annual event will take place 10-11 May.
When Finn announced Skelsey as the recipient of the Abbott Award, she read from his citation: "A leader in business, Henry personifies Darden's mission, its values and principles through his leadership."
Skelsey responded by saying, "For me, Darden is a lifelong community. It has been a great honor to serve on the board, and my greatest honor is having been a student in the classrooms of professors like Mr. Les Grayson, Mr. Bob Bruner and the other incredible faculty here."
He concluded, "It's so important to stay close to the professors who have had an impact on your life."
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About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the highest-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.
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