Frank Batten, Sr.

  • 1927: Born
  • 1950: Graduated College of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • 1952: Receives MBA from Harvard University.
  • 1954: Became publisher of the Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star after starting out as a reporter and advertising salesman.
  • 1957: Received Norfolk’s “Young Man of the Year” award
  • 1966: Named Norfolk’s “First Citizen”
  • 1962: Appointed head of the first governing board of Old Dominion University when ODU was made independent from William and Mary.
  • 1964: Purchased the Greensboro News Company
  • 1965: Elected to the board of directors of the Bureau of Advertising of the American Newspaper Publishers Association.
  • 1967: Becomes chairman of Landmark Communications.
  • May 1980: Presented Old Dominion University’s highest award for service, the University Medal
  • 1982: Named chairman of the Associated Press
  • May 2, 1982: The Weather Channel is launched.
  • 1984: Listed in Forbes Magazine’s list of 400 richest people in America with $150 million.
  • 1998: Batten turned the company over to his son, Frank Batten Jr.
  • 1999: Gave $60 million to the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business Administration.
  • 2003: Donated $11.3 million to the MBA program at the College of William and Mary. Batten and his wife, Jane P. Batten, also announced gifts to other universities including $32 million each to Harvard Business School and Old Dominion University and $11.2 million to Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach.
  • 2006: Made $2 million gift to Hollins University.
  • 2007: Donated $100 million to University of Virginia to begin the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. This is the largest single gift in the history of the University.
  • 2007: Received an award for Distinguished Service to Virginia State Government from the National Governors Association. Va. Gov. Tim Kaine nominated Batten for contributing more than $400 million to education over the years.
  • 2007: Forbes Magazine lists Batten 190th richest person in the U.S. His net worth is estimated at $2.3 billion.
  • 2008: Made a gift of $70 million to Culver Academies, the military boarding school he attended in Indiana.
  • 2009: Received the Virginia Press Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • September 10, 2009: Died at age 82.
  • Nov. 2011: Harvard Business School names building for Batten. Batten Hall houses classrooms and the Harvard University Innovation Lab.
Frank Batten, Sr. Quotes:
June 1965 Greensboro Rotary Club: “A newspaper or television station should be a mirror of its community. It should reflect the community – its interests, its successes and failures and its needs. If it ever loses touch with the community it has failed in its mission.”

“Newspapers should be profitable. Financially weak newspapers cannot stand the gaff. Unless they are strong financially, they will be tempted to pander to the sensational and bend for special pressures. For newspapers profit is not merely a measurement of success; it is a precondition for public service.”

Source: News & Record archive; The Virginian-Pilot archive

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