History and Mission

Prepared for public life.

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy was established by the University of Virginia in 2007 as part of its strategic plan and as an expression of its Jeffersonian heritage. The Batten School is the first new school to be established at the University since the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration was created in 1955.

The mission of the Batten School is to educate leaders from the social sciences and other fields who understand the responsibilities and opportunities of service to the public and can help bring about transformational change. The School, through its instructional, research, and outreach programs, contributes in important ways to public deliberation and enlightenment on the great domestic and international issues of our time. The Batten School trains students in critical leadership skills, and in the analytics and substance of policy. Its programs inspire students to act vigorously, effectively, and ethically on behalf of the common good. Faculty are committed to teaching the use of rigorous analysis, the subtle understanding of political, social and economic context, and the exercise of creative personal and organizational leadership to initiate change in an increasingly diverse world.

The School is made possible by a generous gift from the late Frank Batten, Sr., one of the University’s most loyal supporters. Batten was the retired chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications Inc. He was known for his keen interest in the areas of leadership, citizenship, and service to the public. In establishing his founding gift, Batten expressed his noble goals for the School and its students and graduates:

Never has there been a greater need for the University's most important product: enlightened and ethical leaders who leave Grounds prepared for public life--in their communities, in their professions, in the world at large.

The multi-million dollar renovation of Garrett Hall was completed in summer 2011. Given its significance and prominent location near Jefferson’s historic Lawn, it stands as a fittingly impressive home for the Batten School.