Texas Tech receives $44M philanthropic gift, largest in school history
By: George Watson
Gordon W. Davis has had a larger impact on the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources than just about anyone else. A local businessman who spent 10 years as an associate professor in the college, Davis and his wife, Joyce, have given a $44 million donation, which represents the single largest philanthropic donation to Texas Tech in school history and is one of the largest investments in people and programs in an agricultural college in the U.S.
The gift will fund three areas within the college:
- A $25 million endowment that will directly benefit the college;
- A $4 million gift to establish the Gordon and Joyce Davis Endowment for Excellence in Meat and Food Science; and
- A $15 million gift from the Gordon W. Davis estate to benefit future educational efforts within the college.
To honor this generosity, Texas Tech University is renaming the college the Gordon W. Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.
“My wife and I voted 2-0 on this college,” Davis said of his and Joyce's decision to make this gift to the college. “We did this together.
“I think agriculture is a sleeping giant. We're out here in West Texas, one of the great agriculture areas of the whole world. We have great alumni from all over the country, especially Texas, that love the college and love the education they got in agriculture at Texas Tech. So why wouldn't we want to do this and get it better and better and better? The sleeping giant gets realized and becomes one of the preeminent colleges of agricultural sciences in the world.”
The gift also will challenge Davis College leadership to forge a bold vision for future fundraising to continue supporting new and ongoing projects within the college and its seven departments and increase the level of excellence already established.
The seven departments within the Davis College are:
- Agricultural and Applied Economics
- Agricultural Education & Communications
- Animal & Food Sciences
- Landscape Architecture
- Plant and Soil Science
- Natural Resources Management
- Veterinary Sciences
These new endowments will continue to enhance the worldwide stature and success of the college by funding scholarships for the Meat Sciences and Muscle Biology program and the Food Safety and Microbiology program as well as overall excellence for the entire college.
“The legacy of Gordon Davis at Texas Tech reflects his passionate dedication to students and a history of promoting excellence in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, first as a faculty member and then through generous support as a successful entrepreneur,” Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said.
“This historic and transformative gift from Gordon and Joyce Davis amplifies that legacy and will provide resources that will enhance educational experiences, academic programs and faculty research. I am profoundly grateful for their extraordinary commitment and investment in the future of the college and Texas Tech University.”
These new gifts add to the Davis family's legacy of giving over the years. In 2006, the $500,000 Gordon W. Davis Meat Science Enhancement Endowment helped maintain facility equipment and support teaching, outreach and research activities in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences. The meat science laboratory building on campus bears the Gordon W. Davis name.
At the same time, Davis also gave $500,000 to establish the Gordon W. Davis Endowed Chair in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, which was matched by the Regents' Faculty Endowment Program, creating a new faculty position currently held by professor Brad Johnson.
The Gordon W. Davis Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Meat Judging was established in 1996 by the Meat Science Alumni Association to provide financial assistance for students majoring in meat science who are participating on the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team. Today, the team is the three-time defending national champion and has been called “the Alabama football of the meat judging world” by Sports Illustrated.
A year later, in 1997, Davis helped establish the Gordon W. Davis Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students in the Department of Animal & Food Science who are studying meat science. In 2020, the Gordon and Joyce Davis Foundation was created to award scholarships to students planning to attend community colleges, universities or trade schools.
“Gordon and Joyce Davis' gift is about investing in people,” said Provost and Senior Vice President Ron Hendrick. “The Davises know that investing in students, faculty and staff in the Gordon W. Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources is critical to its success, and our success as a university. The Davises' generous gift demonstrates their commitment to, and strong belief in, education and academics as a pathway to success.”
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Interim Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0119NM22 / Editor's Note: a special video presentation, ‘Gordon Davis Presents $44M Gift to College of Agriculture' can be found here