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Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. (February 11, 1897 – June 9, 1981) was a Democratic U.S. Representative from Virginia (1933–37, 1939–41), the 54th Governor of Virginia (1942–46), Chancellor of the College of William and Mary (1946–47) and the third President of the University of Virginia (1947–59). The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of Virginia was named for him.

Colgate Darden
Colgate Darden.jpg
3rd President of the University of Virginia
In office
June 23, 1947 – September 1, 1959
Preceded byJohn Lloyd Newcomb
Succeeded byEdgar F. Shannon Jr.
54th Governor of Virginia
In office
January 21, 1942 – January 16, 1946
LieutenantWilliam M. Tuck
Preceded byJames H. Price
Succeeded byWilliam M. Tuck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1939 – March 1, 1941
Preceded byNorman R. Hamilton
Succeeded byWinder R. Harris
In office
January 3, 1935 – January 3, 1937
Preceded byDistrict re-established
Menalcus Lankford before district abolished in 1933
Succeeded byNorman R. Hamilton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1935
Preceded byDistrict re-established
John S. Wise before district abolished in 1885
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates for Norfolk City
In office
January 8, 1930 – January 11, 1933
Preceded bySarah Lee Fain
Succeeded byRichard W. Ruffin
Personal details
Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr.

(1897-02-11)February 11, 1897
Southampton County, near Franklin, Virginia
DiedJune 9, 1981(1981-06-09) (aged 84)
Norfolk, Virginia
Resting placeBeechwood Plantation, now Jericho, Southampton County, VA
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Constance Simons Du Pont
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
Columbia Law School
Oxford University
AwardsFrench Croix de guerre
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceFrench Army
 United States Marine Corps
Battles/warsWorld War I

Early lifeEdit

Darden was born on Marle Hill,[1] a farm in Southampton County, Virginia,[2] near Franklin, to Katherine Lawrence (Pretlow) Darden (1870–1936) and Colgate Whitehead Darden Sr. (1867–1945). Darden served in the French Army and as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Air Service during World War I.[3] He later attended the University of Virginia, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and graduated in 1922 before going on to Columbia Law School (graduated 1923) and then Oxford University. He was admitted to the bar and opened practice in Norfolk, Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1930 to 1933.

Congressional serviceEdit

Darden was elected as a Democratic U.S. Representative in an At-large election to the 73rd Congress, and re-elected in the 2nd district to the 74th Congress, and served from March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1937. He was not re-elected to the 75th Congress in 1936, but was re-elected in 1938 and 1940 to the 76th and 77th Congresses and served from January 3, 1939 – March 1, 1941, when he resigned to run for Governor of Virginia.

Electoral historyEdit

  • 1932; Darden was elected to Congress with the rest of the Democratic slate as an at-large member winning 8.24% of the vote in a 24-way race.
  • 1934; Darden was re-elected defeating Republican Gerould M. Rumble, Socialist George Rohlsen, and Communist Herbert S. Carrington, winning 76.14% of the vote.
  • 1938; Darden was re-elected defeating Independent Carl P. Spaeth, winning 87.7% of the vote.
  • 1940; Daren was re-elected unopposed.

Governor of VirginiaEdit

Darden was elected Governor of Virginia with 80.72% of the vote, defeating Republican Benjamin Muse, Communist Alice Burke, and Socialist M. Hilliard Bernstein. Darden was inaugurated January 21, 1942, serving until January 16, 1946. As governor, he reorganized Virginia's civil defense, reformed the penal system, and created a pension plan for state employees and teachers.

President of the University of VirginiaEdit

Darden was elected president of the University of Virginia in 1947, despite public misgivings from some among the university faculty, who resented his lack of faculty experience, and a portion of the student body, who feared that he planned to abolish the fraternity system at the university. The latter concern had its origin in Darden's actions as Governor of Virginia, where he recommended barring students at the College of William and Mary from living in fraternity or sorority houses on the grounds that it was "undemocratic" and placed undue financial burden on parents. While Darden did not impose similar restrictions at Virginia, he did attempt to implement other measures, such as a ban on first year rushing.[4]

While Darden favored the admission of African Americans to professional and graduate schools, he otherwise shared the "separate but equal" stance of most white Southerners of the pre-Brown v. Board of Education (1954) era, advocating that public schools remain, in his words, racially "segregated," but "first-rate."[5]

At Virginia, Darden was responsible for the building of the student union building, named Newcomb Hall for his predecessor John Lloyd Newcomb; the establishment of the Judiciary Committee, which handled student misconduct that did not rise to the level of an honor offense; the creation of the graduate school of business administration, named in his memory; and significant improvements to faculty salaries. Upon his retirement, he was presented with the Thomas Jefferson Award and the Raven Award.[6]

Other service and deathEdit

Darden was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1955. He died in 1981 at his home in Norfolk, Virginia.[7] He was buried in the family plot with his parents. In addition to his wife, he was survived by his younger brother Joshua Pretlow Darden, who was a mayor of Norfolk, Virginia (1949–50). Darden is memorialized with a historic marker at the site of his birth.[1]


Darden's friends include Tidewater resident Barham Gary, whose sister, writer Myra Page, refers to Darden by the nickname "Clukey." His nephew ( Joshua Darden) went on to be the rector at UVA, as well as head of the board. Joshua has two daughters; Audrey and Holley Darden. [8]


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  1. ^ a b "Marle Hill U-119". Marker History. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  2. ^ "Gov. Colgate W. Darden subject of historical society meeting - The Tidewater News".
  3. ^ Heinemann, Ronald L. "Darden, Colgate W. (1897–1981)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
  4. ^ Dabney, Virginius (1981). Mr. Jefferson's University: A History. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. pp. 271–274. ISBN 0-8139-0904-X.
  5. ^ "President Colgate Darden Speaks Out For Equal Educational Opportinities [sic] For Negroes". Charlottesville Tribune. 1 (17): 1. December 2, 1950 – via University of Virginia, Small Special Collections.
  6. ^ Dabney, 417-418.
  7. ^ Barbanel, Josh (June 10, 1981). "Colgate W. Darden Jr. Dies". The New York Times. pp. B6. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  8. ^ Page, Myra; Baker, Christina Looper (1996). In a Generous Spirit: A First-Person Biography of Myra Page. University of Illinois Press. p. 102. Retrieved 5 August 2018.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District re-established
John S. Wise before district abolished in 1885
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's at-large congressional seat

Succeeded by
District abolished
Preceded by
District re-established
Menalcus Lankford before district abolished in 1933
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Norman R. Hamilton
Preceded by
Norman R. Hamilton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Winder R. Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
James H. Price
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
William M. Tuck