Spotlight on: University Row

Held on the first Saturday of May each year (on Sat, May 2nd this year), the Virginia Gold Cup is more than a world famous steeplechase race—it is a grand Spring tradition, a fixture on the Washington social calendar. Named a “primary social area” by The Washington Post, the Row provides guests an enjoyable, high quality experience, with gourmet food, premium beverages, and engaging Race Day activities, such as our well-regarded Best Dressed contest.

University Row at the Virginia Gold Cup is the place to be on race day! In 1999, three DC alumni clubs – JMU, William & Mary, and Virginia, founded University Row as a project of the Capital Alumni Network. Seventeen years later, University Row has grown to become the largest gathering of tents at the Virginia Gold Cup races, with over 1,200 alumni guests in attendance from 80+ universities. University Row allows alumni clubs and chapters the opportunity to jointly develop a high-profile event, engage with peer schools and the general public, and raise needed funds for scholarships and other philanthropic activities.

University Row has, over its 17 years, maintained a close relationship with the Capital Alumni Network. Many of the Row’s leaders are former CAN leaders, while some past Row leaders have gone on help lead CAN activities. The Row would not be here if was not for CAN!  

The Virginia Gold Cup is dedicated to raise funds for the Great Meadow Foundation, which was founded to preserve the open space that surrounds the Gold Cup race course in Fauquier County.

University Row is an all-volunteer event organized by DC-area alumni clubs, for the benefit of alumni clubs. It is a great way for your alumni group to take part in a marquee social event designed with you in mind. As an established event with strong existing demand, University Row ensures your group access to pricing, service, skills, and infrastructure features unavailable to individual organizations booking their own tents. Cost pools, sales collaboration, additional promotional marketing, low overhead, and seasoned management help with the scale of this event.

Subject to availability, alumni groups may join University Row 2015 in one of two ways:

1. As a full or fractional Anchor (Host) individually or jointly responsible for one or more Tents.

An Anchor must deposit a minimum of $325 (10% of a Tent) to participate in the Row, payable after the event with any financial gain from the event (typically around $1 for every $3 deposit).

2. As a Tent Partner allied with a Tent (no financial investment required).

As in previous years, University Row is made up of Tents, hosted by Anchor(s) and their respective Tent Partners. Each Tent receives a ticket allotment that it is expected to sell, either in base numbers or via a dollar equivalent. Tents are encouraged to decorate and individualize their tents, and are welcome to rent or bring additional furniture or other materials to their space. Generally, Partners join Tents with some commonality (ie: athletics conferences, regional affiliation, etc.). Partners are also able to take part in our Partner Incentive Program, which provides awards to non-profit alumni chapters who meet sales and/or volunteer targets.

Alumni groups interested in participating in University Row 2015 should contact Hilah Zia (West Virginia) at, or Dave Timmons (Berkeley) ( so we can help your alumni group ensure your optimal involvement in the Row. Be sure to go to for up-to-date information about the Row.