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               2016 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

                          E. Claiborne Robins, R'31                                                            

E. Claiborne Robins

Born in Richmond in 1910, E. Claiborne Robins was two when his father died. His mother, Martha Taylor Robins, struggled to run A.H. Robins Co., the family’s pharmacy business. Claiborne went to work selling newspapers in downtown Richmond before he was ten. 

Unable to afford room and board, Robins commuted to University of Richmond on scholarship. He graduated in 1931 and went on to earn his pharmacy degree from MCV. 

In Robins’ brilliant 43 year career, he guided A.H. Robins from a small family concern to a billion-dollar international corporation. Notable as his achievements in business were, even more noteworthy is the deep and sincere respect this modest gentleman earned from everyone whose life he touched. 

From a humble beginning to national prominence, E. Claiborne Robins’ personal history foreshadows the trajectory he made possible for University of Richmond. His is the uniquely American success story of a self-made man, possessed of bold dreams and rare personal grace, who left the world a far better place than he found it.

In 1969 E. Claiborne Robins and his family, already generous benefactors to the University, forever altered its course. They gave a magnificent gift of $50 million, at that time the largest amount a living benefactor had ever given an American university.

Because of their gift and others it inspired, University of Richmond has been transformed from a financially troubled local college to a nationally recognized university. Mr. Robins continued his generosity through his lifetime and through his estate when he died in 1995, and his family and the Robins Foundation continue to support the University with a total in excess of $200 million. The gifts have funded buildings on campus, endowed professorships and scholarships, athletic funds, the Lora Robins Gallery.

Mr. Robins received numerous honors and awards including an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1960 and was the first recipient of the Paragon Medal, the University’s highest honor. He is an honorary charter member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honorary national business fraternity, as well as an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of the University Board of Trustees from 1951 and was trustee emeritus when he died. In 1979, the School of Business was named the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business in his honor.

E. Claiborne Robins, R'31, Alumni Hall of Fame Induction