Linda Voelker provides a glimpse of February’s breakfast. The monthly RCDP breakfasts provide great speakers and information as well as fellowship with neighbors with similar small “d” values. Mark your calendars for the Saturday, March 11th, breakfast at 10:00 am.

“Trusting, Trustworthy and Transparent” are words describing Dr. Anthony Davis’s commitment as President of Livingstone College in Salisbury as he spoke at Rowan County’s February 11th Democratic Breakfast.

Davis ‘s life journey demonstrates his faith in God’s guidance throughout his life. Born of a teenage mother who became a ward of the state, he was reared in New Haven, Connecticut, by a foster mother who emphasized academic achievements more than sports. As a youth he excelled in math and science and attended Yale summer programs.

Aging out of foster care, he served in the US Air Force before enrolling at Livingstone College in 2000. After graduating Magna cum Laude, he served as a vice president at Livingstone and then earned MA and PhD degrees in Philanthropy and Development. Dr. Jimmy Jenkins asked Davis to “come back home” so he returned to manage  the college during the pandemic, which closed the institution for only four months. 

President Davis notes his political position as “non-partisan with a pro policy for students and their families.” In his dream job, he is happy, humbled and honored these past four months and is a strong advocate for the students and Livingstone College. He supports all policies that benefit the students and their families.

From reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, Davis brings the question “What are you on earth for?” The answer for Davis is “to serve the underserved, the under-represented, and the under-resourced.” As President, his objective is to help students confidently find their place globally so they can compete and contribute. 

“Livingstone students are resilient, relevant and ready.” Of the 800 students enrolled, 97% need financial help to attend; however, Livingstone receives little money from the state legislature.  President Davis seeks to double their $6 million endowment fund before the end of his contract. 

U.S. News and World Report rates Livingstone as 20th in social mobility. Livingstone College’s goal is to take academically at-risk students, give them a good foundation so they can move successfully to four-year schools to further their education. Thus, poor students are taken on a path to prosperity.  

Davis touts Livingstone as an asset to Salisbury with a $49 million impact on the city and county. He sees Livingstone as a solutions provider along with civic and business partners to tackle the challenges in the community.

At his job interview, Davis stated a five-pillar strategy for Livingstone which includes (1) Building and sustaining the enrollment, (2) Engaging with the community and businesses, (3) Noting STEM offerings as one of the best in NC, (4) Refurbishing the residence halls, and (5) Raising funds and the profile of Livingstone College.

He closed with his favorite quotation:  “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.” 

Linda Voelker