Giving Back Helps Davis Family Come Full Circle
“Cash is king,” writes Charles M. (Chuck) Davis ’82, P’13 on the blackboard. The former president and CEO of BizRate and current CEO of Fandango explains his premise, eliciting comments from students along the way. Then, in a move reminiscent of Barrett Hazeltine, he strides up the auditorium steps and, extending his hand, asks, “Are we all still friends?”
For the past few years, Chuck, a longtime philanthropist and trustee of the University, has been co-teaching a session of Engineering 009 with Hazeltine during February corporation weekend. This year, however he taught back-to-back sessions on his own, and seemed to revel in the challenge. An added bonus: by volunteering his expertise in his former professor’s class, he was also able to teach his own son, Jared.
I love teaching and pride myself on being a mentor to youth.— Chuck Davis ’82, P’13
“I love teaching and pride myself on being a mentor to youth,” says Chuck. “It’s one way of bringing some of life’s lessons to the next generation who will, I trust, do more with them than the prior generation did. I also have an industry skill-set that is newer than many that exist today. So I see various business models and techniques that I’m able to bring with me wherever I travel—be it in the Barrett classroom, on a board committee, or even just having dinner with Jared. It feels good to give back to something that has rewarded me so deeply.”
For Chuck and Jan Phillips Davis ’83 P’13, giving of their time and treasure not only mirrors their passions, but brings them full circle in ways that are intensely personal. Jan recalls her first visit to Africa during her senior year of high school: “I saw the continent as the birthplace of so much life and treasure the photos I took on that trip. Since then, I’ve read a lot about it—a beautiful place with a tortured history—and have been back three or four times. I now have a dream to go and work there, something I think I’ve also instilled in my kids.”
The generosity of the Davis family has shaped my perception of the world and how I will interact in it in the future." — Sharon Makava ’11, Chemical Engineering
When given an opportunity to state a preference for their scholarship, then, the choice was clear. The couple requested a first- or second-generation student from South Africa and was “gifted,” says Chuck, “in meeting Sharon Makava ’11, a native of Zimbabwe. By communicating with her and following her progress, we’re getting to know a wonderful person who is looking to leave her mark on the world.”
“Chuck and I have made a lifelong commitment to and friendship with Sharon that goes beyond our simply having made a contribution toward her education,” says Jan. “Standing on the green talking and meeting other students, Sharon and I realized that, despite our differences, we are both Brown women.”
This story originally appeared on the Boldly Brown: Campaign for Academic Enrichment website in April 2011.