Gordon Davis, who spent 10 years as an associate professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, 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.

According to Texas Tech, 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.”

“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.”

Davis, who earned bachelor's degrees in agriculture science and education from Washington State University and a doctorate in meat science from Texas A&M University, spent the early part of his career as an instructor and faculty member at several colleges. He began as a high school instructor in the late 1960s and later was an instructor at Texas A&M while finishing his master's and doctorate requirements. He then spent three years on the faculty at the University of Tennessee and 10 years at Texas Tech. In 1990, he left to enter the private sector.

During his time in academia, he coached two national champion meat judging teams, at Texas A&M in 1973 and Texas Tech in 1989 – that would be the first of what is now 16 national championships in Lubbock. Professor Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Chair in Meat Science, Food Processing and Preservation, competed in meat judging for Davis in 1981 and served as an assistant coach in 1982 and 1983. He succeeded Davis in that role and has led Texas Tech to 15 more national championships.

“Gordon Davis has been an amazing supporter of the kids,” Miller said. “His passion for excellence and drive to make Texas Tech a world-class meat science program has made a significant impact on the lives of many people and will continue to do so for perpetuity. We are blessed to have Gordon Davis as a friend and family member in our meat science program at Texas Tech.”

Source: Texas Tech Today