Featured Past Winners

1996 — Richard M. Gerson

Richard M. Gerson (’97)

Rick Gerson is the Founder, Chairman and CIO of Falcon Edge Capital, a global investment firm based in New York with an opportunistic mandate and a long term investment style.

Prior to Falcon Edge, Mr. Gerson was a Founding Member and Managing Director of Blue Ridge Capital, a New York-based investment firm started in 1996, where he was for 15 years. Mr. Gerson graduated from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce with a B.S. in Commerce with a concentration in finance.

Mr. Gerson is a member of the Cleveland Clinic International Leadership Board, a founding member of the Board of Trustees of PAVE (a charter school in Brooklyn), a founding board member of Orascom Housing Communities (an Egyptian affordable housing developer), a founding board member of the Josh Waitzkin Art of Learning Foundation (JWF) and is a member of the board of 92nd Street Y (a leading cultural institution and community center in New York). Mr. Gerson is a member of the Belfer Center’s International Council at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

1998 — Austin G. Root

Austin Root is a partner and portfolio manager of D.F. Dent & Company, a 100% employee-owned investment advisor dedicated to identifying and owning best-in-class, niche-focused growth companies.

Before joining D. F. Dent, Mr. Root served for five years as managing partner and portfolio manager for North Oak Capital Advisors, a New York based investment management firm he co-founded.  Prior to that, Mr. Root held investment positions at DLH Capital Management, CR Intrinsic Investors, and Soros Fund Management and has experience investing in a broad set of assets, including public equities, derivatives, private equity, venture capital, and fixed-income securities.  He began his career at the Blackstone Group as an analyst in the Restructurings & Reorganizations group. In addition to a B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School, Mr. Root earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

While at the University of Virginia, among other activities, Mr. Root served as class president of the McIntire School’s Commerce Council, portfolio manager for the student-run McIntire Investment Institute, student delegate for McIntire’s Undergraduate Programming Committee, and a member of UVA’s rugby team.  Mr. Root continues to serve as a class trustee and trustee leader for the McIntire School for the class of 1999.

1999 — Terra Weirich Blodnikar

While a student at the University, Terra served as Honor Committee Vice Chair for Trials and as Bice House Council President. She started her own jewelry business and also worked part-time throughout her four years. Since UVA, Terra developed a passion for real estate investment. She works in Washington, DC as a Vice President for CIM Group, a real estate private equity investment firm and also has a few investment properties of her own.

2008 — Alex Boyajian

Alex Boyajian (’09)

An Echols scholar and Lawn Resident, Alex served as President of student-run Oluponya Records, helped lead a national champion Mock Trial team, and was involved in a number of service organizations including Madison House, Alternative Spring Break and Hoos Against Hunger. He is now an Associate with Linden Capital Partners in Chicago.

2009 — Scott Rosen

Scott is currently the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at eviCore healthcare.  He previously held positions as a private equity associate with Court Square Capital and an investment banking analyst at Evercore.

During his UVA days, Scott was president of the McIntire Commerce Council, as well as president of the Hillel Jewish Leadership Council and was on the Inter-fraternity Council Judiciary Committee.

2012 — Tuonan “Tony” Li

Tony Li (’13)

Tony Li graduated from the McIntire School, with a second major in Economics. While at the University, he was active in the McIntire Investment Institute. He also served as an Honor Advisor, as Scholarship Chair for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, as Trustee of the Class of 2013, and as President of the Mainland Student Network. Tony currently works in the New York office of McKinsey & Co.

2013 — Nicholas J. Cafero

Nicholas J. Cafero (’14)

Nick Cafero ’14, is currently pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. He graduated from the University with a major in Government and a minor in Media Studies. While at the University, Nick was President of the University of Virginia Hullabahoos, a member of UGuides, Sigma Chi, and the I.M.P. Society, where he served as King.

2014 — Allie Griswold

Alexandra Griswold is currently a fourth year student in the Commerce School. She is additionally an Echols, TASC Leadership, Glenn D. Kirwin, and YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Scholar. She is highly involved as President of the Commerce Council. She has served as President of the UVa Women’s Ice Hockey Club team, the fundraising chair for Relay for Life, and a columnist for the Cavalier Daily, to name a few. From Collegeville, PA, Allie will begin work with McKinsey & Co. after graduation.

2015 — Caroline Herre

Caroline served as the Vice President – Education for the Honor Committee. She was also a member of the University Guide Service and a Resident Advisor in the first year dorms. She is on the leadership team of the UVa Community Garden, and has taught an after-school class on gardening and healthy living at a local elementary school. Caroline, who was also a Jefferson Scholar, is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning at the School of Architecture. 


2016 — Michelle (Faby) Chaillo

Sidelined from a promising tennis career by injuries and multiple surgeries, Chaillo turned her considerable energy to other leadership and business activities.  Next year, she will serve as President of the Commerce School Council as she pursues a B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Business.

“Faby was tennis, and tennis was Faby,” is how Chaillo describes her life prior to her injuries. She is a two-time Virginia State Champion (2009, 2012), and the United States Tennis Association ranked her No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic and No. 18 in the United States. She was forced to take last year off from her studies for multiple surgeries and used part of her time away from UVA to work with Coulter Companies in McLean, Virginia.  Also fluent in French and Spanish, Faby was given extraordinary responsibility for a Chanel Fashion Leadership Meeting in New York City.

On Grounds, Faby serves as the Special Events Chair of the Hoo Crew and as a member of Class Council. She helped spearhead the Movember fundraiser to raise money for and awareness about men’s health issues at UVA, and is also an enthusiastic volunteer with Special Olympics.  In her spare time, she is working on the development of a music-based social media app

All Past Winners

  • 1994 — Justin Winthers
  • 1995 — Sonya N. Mitchell
  • 1996 — Richard M. Gerson
  • 1997 — Stephen Lovett
  • 1998 — Austin G. Root
  • 1999 — Terra Weirich Blodnikar
  • 2000 — Amanda Eisel
  • 2001 — Cara Coolbaugh
  • 2002 — Stephen Reis
  • 2003 — Lytle A. Wurtzel
  • 2004 — Daisy Lundy
  • 2005 — Christopher Golden
  • 2006 — Andrew F. Paradis
  • 2007 — Michael “Tyler” Boles
  • 2008 — Alex Boyajian
  • 2009 — Scott Rosen
  • 2010 — Grégoire Riobé
  • 2012 — Tuonan “Tony” Li
  • 2013 — Nicholas J. Cafero
  • 2014 — Allie Griswold
  • 2015 — Caroline Herre
  • 2016 — Michelle (Faby) Chaillo