Center for Politics Gets Big Boost
By Peter Jackson
n Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia, alumni, professor, and founder of the University’s Center for Politics Larry J. Sabato, PhD (at podium) announced his gift of $1 million to go to the Center.
The largest gift ever made by an active University of Virginia faculty member, Larry Sabato’s donation fulfills a promise he made to former University President Edgar F. Shannon some 30 years ago. Not long after graduating in 1974, he joined Edgar Shannon and his wife Eleanor for dinner at their home
at Carr’s Hill on the University Grounds. As the three talked and reminisced about their fond memories of UVa, the conversation soon turned to the changing role of public institutions of higher learning in the Commonwealth. “I remember we talked about the fact that money was already tight and about how in the future universities, like Uva, could only prosper with private money,” he recalled.
Edgar Shannon insisted alumni have to “step up to the plate,” a popular phrase of his.
That night at Edgar and Eleanor Shannon’s, Larry Sabato vowed to repay the University for all it gave him. “I hope that one day I am in a position to make a big contribution, say $1 million, to the University.” Edgar Shannon laughed. At the
time, $1 million was considered well beyond the reach of any academic
The author was formerly with the Center for Public Service.
  niversity of Virginia students, faculty and administrators gathered on February 4 in the Dome Room of the Rotunda
for what up to that point had been described simply as “a special announcement.” Indeed it was: Professor Larry J. Sabato announced his gift of $1 million to support the University’s Center for Politics and its effort to become the national leader in youth and adult civic education and participation.

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