The Founders Award has been presented to only 20 individuals since it was established in 1934. It is conferred by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to individuals who exemplify the type of devoted service and public and Institute spirit demonstrated by the founders of the Athenaeum and the Mechanics Institute, RIT’s forerunners. It is fitting that Davis receive the award March 23, the same day the campus presents the Alfred L. Davis Public Service Awards, made possible by generous gifts from Davis.
“Al Davis has been an incredible resource for RIT for nearly seven decades. His devotion to RIT is legendary,” says RIT President Albert Simone. “The dedication, commitment and philanthropy of Al Davis have taken RIT to new heights. RIT is indeed fortunate to have such a relationship.”
Davis, vice president emeritus, join RIT 68 years ago as a faculty member. Today the Brighton resident is an active retiree, mentor and adviser. During his years as vice president in the 1960s and ‘70s, Davis played a key role in shaping RIT’s future by helping to raise the funds to build a new campus in Henrietta. Through these efforts, he developed an appreciation for the selfless generosity of RIT’s benefactors and their profound impact on the students and the greater community.
Davis was also instrumental in founding the Nathaniel Rochester Society (NRS) in 1967. He was presented the prestigious Nathaniel Rochester Society Award in 1998 to recognize his service to the Institute. He is also a charter member of the Ellingson Society, which was formed to recognize individuals who have made a planned or deferred gift to RIT.
In 1977, RIT board member Brackett Clark and his wife, Ruth, established the Alfred L. and Ruby C. Davis endowed scholarship to recognize the couple for their many contributions to the Institute, including establishing the Women’s Council of RIT. The scholarships are awarded to students who are campus leaders and who have demonstrated service to the university. In 1996, Davis also funded a new campus child-care facility, Margaret’s House, named in memory of his late wife Margaret Welcher Davis.
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