The history of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation cannot be told without mention of the name William “Bill” Fownes Blue. A graduate of the Commerce School in 1956 and the Law School in 1960, Bill was active in the Maryland alumni chapter in Baltimore in the 1970’s and was determined to get the chapter to devote itself to supporting a substantial and worthy cause at the University. “We began to wonder whether we could develop a merit-based scholarship for students from our area. We simply began planning, as a chapter, to raise the money for it,” said Bill.
Bill’s vision and persistence helped set the wheels in motion to create what would eventually become the Jefferson Scholars Program at U.Va. His efforts also led to the hiring of Jimmy Wright, the Foundation’s current president of 30 years. It is only appropriate, then, that his family honored him by naming the William Fownes Blue Board Room at the Foundation last Saturday. Seventeen of his family members, many of whom also attended the University, gathered together to unveil a commissioned portrait of Bill that will remain on prominent display in the William Fownes Blue Board Room for many years to come.
All four of Bill’s children attended U.Va., including sons William F. Blue, Jr. (Col ’81, Dar ’86), J. Tyler Blue (Col ’83), and Robert G. Blue (Col ’85, Law ’89), as well as his daughter Katherine M. Blue (Col ’89). Additionally, two of his grandchildren have attended, including granddaughter Nancy S. Blue (Col ’10) and grandson John T. Blue, Jr. (Col ’14).
The Jefferson Scholars Foundation is deeply indebted to Bill not only for his leadership and foresight, but also for his years of service and support. The Foundation also extends its gratitude to the entire Blue Family, who have continued in their father’s footsteps by supporting the Foundation’s mission.