In 2007 Frank Batten, Sr., chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications, Inc., founder of The Weather Channel, dedicated $100 million for the creation of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

“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.”Frank Batten, Sr.

Batten, a forward-thinking philanthropist committed to supporting educational initiatives and serving the public good, saw an urgent need for a new generation of leaders who could affect transformational change. He emphasized leadership as one of the key skills required for success in the field of public policy. “Talented public leaders are needed from a range of professional backgrounds. It is critical to get younger people excited about the responsibilities and opportunities of public service in all its manifestations,” Batten said. “The earlier in their careers that exceptional students begin to think of themselves as future public leaders who can promote a better society, the greater the likelihood they will become such leaders.” 


The Batten School is led by Dean Allan Stam. Before joining the Batten School he was the Director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the dynamics of armed conflict between and within states.

“Leadership and team-building skills have an extraordinary multiplier effect on policy and organizational outcomes. They often are the crucial difference separating success from failure, accounting for when the best policies and practices emerge.

My own work, first in the U.S. military and then as an academic, demonstrates that civil society leaders and security policymakers alike must work as a team to achieve their community’s goals and that leaders and the strategies they adopt are the most powerful drivers shaping the world around us.

Three pillars supporting Batten’s evolution are clear: (1) cementing leadership and team-building best practices into our curriculum and policy outreach, (2) establishing Garrett Hall as a national locus of evidence-based policy research, and (3) teaching advanced policy analysis skills to UVA’s extraordinary students.”