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Bobby Ukrop resigns from UR board

David Larter December 20, 2012 14
Bobby Ukrop

Bobby Ukrop

One of University of Richmond’s largest donors and the former head of a local grocery chain stepped down this month from the school’s board of trustees.

Bobby Ukrop resigned at a Dec. 7 meeting of the board, according to a source close to the family, who said Ukrop was upset by a perceived lack of transparency in the school’s decision to cut men’s soccer and track in favor of men’s lacrosse. Two other sources familiar with the UR board of trustees confirmed Ukrop’s departure.

The university announced the cuts in September, saying at the time that it couldn’t keep both programs and add a varsity lacrosse team. Ukrop publicly shared his disappointment in the board’s decision.

When reached by BizSense, Ukrop declined to comment.

UR President Ed Ayers, reached by phone, said he would not comment on the resignation. And Ann Lloyd Breeden, the secretary to the board of trustees, also declined to comment.

Ukrop, an alumnus of UR, has been a longtime and high-profile supporter of the school’s athletics programs. In addition to donating funds for various sports programs, he contributed money for the new on-campus football stadium and its predecessor, First Market Stadium. (First Market Bank was owned by the Ukrop family before it merged with Union Bankshares in 2009 to become Union First Market Bank.)

There is also an auditorium named for the Ukrop family in the UR business school.

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14 Comments »

  1. Russ Starke December 20, 2012 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I deeply appreciate Mr. Ukrop’s attempts to both keep Men’s Soccer and Track in the UR sports family and his attempt to move the board back to a more transparency and fairness. I admire his commitment, integrity and servant spirit. I can only imagine the angst involved for him in a decision of this magnitude.

    • Ryan Heins December 20, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Russ, I couldn’t agree more. The fact that he has declined to comment also is respectful parting and difference in opinion without slandering.

  2. Kim Kacani December 20, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply

    The University of Richmond has lost the guidance and counsel of a great leader and dedicated servant. I have such respect for Mr. Ukrop and his commitment to his core values. His unwillingness to compromise those values in light of how my Alma Mater decided to conduct business is understandable and should be commended. Thank you, Mr. Ukrop, for your service and integrity.

  3. Jeff Crook December 20, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Thank you to Bobby Ukrop for his contributions to the University of Richmond over the years.

    It is really disappointing to hear that a Board Member and Benefactor like Bobby feels that decisions aren’t being made in a transparent manner. If a Board Member doesn’t know how decisions are being made … how are decisions being made?

  4. Maury Bareford December 20, 2012 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I think this was a right decision. If the board of trustees does not have transparency from the university , then they are a figure head board and Mr. Ukrop has better things to do with his time. He doesn’t need the university’s prestige. He has enough in his own right. He is a tremendous benefactor to the city, and will be a great loss to the university.

  5. UR Alum22 December 20, 2012 at 11:01 am - Reply

    I applaud Mr. Ukrop’s decision to step down and as much as I support and love the University or Richmond, I would ask him to cancel all further support of the University in light of the Board’s actions and to ask for the removal of the Ukrop’s name or use anywhere on campus. This is far bigger than the decision to eliminate soccer and track, but rather the lack of transparency by the Board, President, or Athletic Department to stand up and explain their decision to the young adult athletes and students effected by this decision. If you make a decision behind closed doors, give very little to no reasoning about the decision, and refuse to vote on the matter or answer questions from the soccer and track teams – something smells bad. And when something smells bad, it probably is bad.

  6. Soccer December 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Seems like all three of these sports you can pretty much all wear the same equipment and play on the same field so why did two get cut?

  7. Terry Weisenberger December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Bobby, I have always appreciated your integrity and your decades of support for the university I have been involved with most of my life. I don’t have any particular knowledge of the process involved in this decision, but that is rather the point, isn’t it? Enjoy your other pursuits.

  8. Concerned UR alum December 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Mr. Ukrop is a legend due to his success in life and business. He is a true leader due to his humbleness, selflessness, and care for important issues.
    Something is amiss with the board at UR. I wonder if the President and the board tried to thank him for a smidgen of all that he has done for the UR community. ‘No comment’ is all that we get from the University President’s office.

  9. Tom Kern UR 82 December 21, 2012 at 8:05 am - Reply

    When a person of the stature and character of Bobby Ulrops resigns from the UR board it speaks volumes as to the lack of transparency (intergrity) of the decision makers regarding Men’s soccer. It seems like UR wants to relive the Cooper years all over again. We all know how that turned out……took years to recover.

  10. Betsy Spath December 21, 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    If Bobby Ukrop made this critical decision, it was a well thought out, prayed about, morally based, ethical one. Thank goodness someone had the moral fortitude to stand up for what was a badly handled decision that affected so many young people without transparency or fairness. My humble opinion…

  11. John Randolph "Randy" Nelson December 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    As the first head coach of U. of R. men’s soccer team, I was distressed to hear of the Trustees’ decision to terminate the men’s soccer program. I was even more distressed by having to first learn of it via the public media rather than directly from a University administrator. Mr. Ukrop’s sentiments and actions appear justified. As as a graduate of The T. C. Williams School of Law and the first mens soccer coach, I am re-evaluating the merits of further supporting any aspect or program within the University of Richmond. There seems to be little transparency.
    Randy Nelson (Law-’76)

  12. Kevin Smith 11' December 26, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I’m ecstatic to see Mr. Ukrop stand up for the integrity of our student-athletes. It’s funny to see the hypocrisy of this whole ordeal. In my time at Richmond as a student-athlete, I came accustomed to the notion that when pride and integrity of the university is upheld, your hard work would be rewarded in support by your peers and community. Looks as though this is not a custom that the board has any inclination of holding. Simply comical to me that a decision of this magnitude be made so swiftly as if it barely affected anyone.

  13. Scott January 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    What a complete shame. I remember his generosity when I was a student-athlete at UR. It didn’t matter if you were a highly recruited basketball star or a walk-on helping a non-revenue generating sport, he treated all programs with a tremendous amount of respect. The school speaks of integrity but doesn’t seem to be demonstrating it. Poor decisions eventually add up.

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