Ronald R. and Judith L. Davenport pledge $3 million to the University

October, 2001

Ronald R. Davenport (BS Bus 1958) and Judith L. Davenport (BS Med Tech 1961), pledged $3 million to the University to be distributed equally between the Eberly College of Science and The Smeal College of Business Administration. Their gift endows a faculty chair in each college, and is the largest single contribution from an African American couple or individual to Penn State..

Ronald R. Davenport, Sr., and Judith M. Davenport are the original founders of Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation. Ronald is chairman and chief executive officer of Sheridan Broadcasting Corp., which owns radio stations in Pittsburgh and Buffalo and a radio network with more than 300 affiliates in 39 states. It is the largest African/American-owned communications network in the United States. Judith Davenport, a retired dentist, is a co-founder and a director of the Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. After graduating from Penn State in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Ronald Davenport went on to earn law degrees from Temple and Yale. In 1970, he was named dean of Duquesne University School of Law-one of the youngest law school deans in the country and the first African American law dean at a predominantly white law school. After 10 years as dean, he spent two years as a partner with Buchanan Ingersoll before assuming the helm at Sheridan Broadcasting.

Ronald has served on numerous civic and corporate boards, including those with the U.S. Committee for Economic Development, National Chamber of Commerce, local and National Urban League, John Heinz History Center, Bell of Pennsylvania and Aramark Corp. On August 27, 2010 Davenport received the Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Judith Davenport earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1961 in medical technology. She received a graduate degree in public health and a doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Davenport has also served on many professional and civic boards, including the dental review board of Highmark Blue Shield and the Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, as well as those affiliated with the Birmingham Foundation, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Pittsburgh affiliate of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Carlow University, where she also was board chairman from 2002-06. She is a trustee emeritus for Forbes Hospital and Pittsburgh Public Theater.

The Davenports have been involved in a number of major civic fund raising efforts, including the August Wilson Cultural Center (Pittsburgh), and President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

In previous philanthropy to Penn State, the Davenports endowed two undergraduate scholarships for minority students who have an interest in the sciences and in business. They were also major benefactors in the campaign to build the new Paul Robeson Cultural Center and to expand the Hetzel Union Building on the University Park campus.

“Penn State has been so important to us,” said Judith Davenport. “We wanted to give something back to the University. It was where we met, where we received our first degrees, and where everything started for us. As an African American alumna, I want other African American students and alumni to know how important we feel it is to support Penn State.”

Source: Penn State Public Information