Face verification involves determining whether a pair of facial images belongs to the same or different subjects. This problem can prove to be quite challenging in many important applications where labeled training data is scarce, e.g., family album photo organization software. Herein we propose a principled transfer learning approach for merging plentiful source-domain data with limited samples from some target domain of interest to create a classifier that ideally performs nearly as well as if rich target-domain data were present. Based upon a surprisingly simple generative Bayesian model, our approach combines a KL-divergence based regularizer/prior with a robust likelihood function leading to a scalable implementation via the EM algorithm. As justification for our design choices, we later use principles from convex analysis to recast our algorithm as an equivalent structured rank minimization problem leading to a number of interesting insights related to solution structure and feature-transform invariance. These insights help to both explain the effectiveness of our algorithm as well as elucidate a wide variety of related Bayesian approaches. Experimental testing with challenging datasets validate the utility of the proposed algorithm.