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Now 105 Years Old, Darden's Founding Faculty Member Inspires A&S Writing Seminar

Published January 21, 2016 in News

By: Lorenzo Perez, Senior Writer | College of Arts & Sciences

Generations of students at the Darden School of Business left Prof. John D. Forbes’ classroom with a greater appreciation for the art of writing succinctly, and with style. For years, Darden alumni surveyed by the graduate school consistently cited Forbes’ “Analysis and Communication” course as the one in which they learned and retained the most.

Now 105 years old, Professor Emeritus Forbes is serving as the inspiration for a new, upper-level writing and public speaking seminar under development for undergraduate students in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The John D. Forbes Seminar for Career Focused Writing and Communications, to be supported by a $250,000 gift from Darden alumnus Lee R. Forker, Jr., will emphasize oral and written communications in the interest of preparing Arts & Sciences students for leadership roles in a variety of careers.

“Many of us, from the early days of Darden, considered Prof. Forbes’ course, of everything we did there, to be the best class with the greatest impact on our careers,” said Forker, a 1963 graduate of Darden and the founder of New England Research & Management, Inc., a Boston-based investment management firm.

The first faculty member to be hired by Darden’s founder, Forbes helped to design the curriculum for its inaugural class in 1955. He carried the title of Professor of Business History, and during his career at UVA, Forbes authored biographies of American banker and financier J.P. Morgan, Jr., Edward R. Stettinius, Sr, and of the Victorian architect William Tinsley. But unlike most of his academic colleagues at Darden, Forbes did not arrive at UVA from Wabash College with the traditional areas of expertise for a business school professor.

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