Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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DECEMBER 2021 9 A s the first UVA graduate in his family, Eli Barnes (Col '03) de- veloped a passion for golf and UVA. Growing up in Bristol, Conn., on his family farm, Barnes was the young- est of four children. He competed in football, wrestling and golf at Deerfield Academy, but his main passion was golf. "My parents found me hitting golf balls in the middle of one of our cow pastures when I was 11 years old, and they knew I was hooked on the game," Barnes shared. A few of Barnes' fellow Deerfield alumni and siblings' friends went to UVA, including former student-ath- letes Henry Oakey (men's lacrosse), Peter Ragosa (men's lacrosse) and Wes Battle (wrestling). Barnes was passionate about golf, and his dream was to play in college. "I'll never forget the first time I set foot on Grounds," he said. "I had been on a three-week-long trip playing in junior golf tournaments and visiting colleges at the same time, and UVA was our last stop. Exhausted after being on the road for three weeks, I remember driving into Charlottesville and seeing the V on the road and immediately perking up in ex- citement — my kids get this same feeling now. The second I walked on the Lawn, it just felt right. "I remember meeting with coach Mike Moraghan, who happened to be a Con- necticut native himself. He was one of those guys that was incredibly engag- ing and enthusiastic. We stayed in close contact over the next handful of months, developing a great relationship. "Getting the call from Mike that fall of- fering me a scholarship and then signing a national letter of intent [NLI] to go to UVA was a phone call I'll never forget. All of the years of hard work, practice, sacri- fice — by my parents, teachers, coaches and friends too — had paid off." Barnes has many great memories dur- ing his time at UVA — on and off the golf course. "One of my favorite memories was when we played down at Furman Univer- sity's tournament, which was early in the spring," he said. "None of us were pre- pared for the fact that it would snow while we were down there. Coach Moraghan ran out to Walmart and purchased neon or- ange hunting wool caps to keep us warm during the first few holes. "Safe to say that we could easily spot one another around the golf course with our hunting caps. I still have mine to this day." Following graduation, Barnes began his career in commercial real estate in Washington, D.C., and has continued in that industry for the past 18 years. He is currently a principal and co-head of the Washington, D.C., Agency Leasing Practice for Avison Young. He also serves on the board of directors at Barnes Group Inc. Barnes and his wife, Amory, reside in Bethesda, Md., with their four children, Haddie, Parker, Morgan and Zach. Their family has been UVA football season ticket holders for a long time and enjoys coming to Charlottesville for games. Some of Barnes' favorite UVA sports experiences include the men's basketball Final Four and national championship, the UVA vs. Arizona opener of John Paul Jones Arena, the 2016 UVA vs. UNC ACC champi- onship game in D.C., and the football games against Notre Dame. "I am so grateful and thankful that I had the chance to not only attend UVA, but to also play golf there," Barnes reflected. "I love being able to support UVA and the Virginia Athlet- ics Foundation [VAF] to give back and help our athletic programs, in particular the men's and women's golf teams. "The VAF gives you the opportunity to make a difference, give back and have an impact on Virginia Athletics, allowing students to focus on their sports and studies without worrying about the financial burden of funding that experience. "I am forever grateful that Coach Moraghan took a chance on me, a kid from Bristol, Conn., to play for the Virginia men's golf team," he contin- ued. "I truly believe that the moment I signed my NLI to play golf at UVA my life changed forever. "I want nothing more than to be able to help someone else have the same experi- ence as a UVA student-athlete that I so cherished then and still do today. What Bowen [Sargent] and Ria [Scott] are do- ing with the men's and women's golf pro- grams is fantastic. They do a great job of keeping in touch with former players and making them feel like they are still a part of the team." What is one thing that Barnes is proud of? "In 2005, fellow alumni Peter Cownie [men's tennis], Ben Sloan, Graham Miller and I established the Royal Aberdeen Society," he shared. "The Royal Aberdeen Society is comprised of a group of 40-50 alumni who come back to Charlottesville every year to be with one another and continue our love for UVA. We host a golf tournament at Birdwood and raise money for the VAF. "Each year, we have donated to a differ- ent team or fundraising priority for the VAF. Our ability to give back to the VAF is some- thing our organization prides itself on." — Jess Armistead CONTINUED SUCCESS: MEN'S GOLFER ELI BARNES Barnes and his wife, Amory, reside in Bethesda, Md., and have four children, Haddie (9), Parker (7), Morgan (4) and Zach (1, not pictured).

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