For Mary Beth and Chris Harvey, the perfect opportunity to combine their passions for education and service with their desire to support the needs of Davidson College and its graduates came in the form of the Davidson Impact Fellows program. The Harveys, who live in New York City and moved their daughter into Watts Residence Hall last fall, donated a leadership gift to establish the program.
The Davidson Impact Fellows-a collaborative program from the office of the vice president for student life and dean of students, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Career Services office, and other campus partners-builds on the college's strong commitment to civic engagement, and it enables recent graduates to work with non-profit organizations that address critical social issues such as health, education, and the environment. Through this work, Davidson Impact Fellows will create and implement solutions to some of the most urgent problems our society now confronts, positively affecting their communities as they learn and develop into effective leaders. The non-profit organizations share the funding responsibility for the positions with Davidson College, and in its inaugural year, 15 graduates will begin their fellowships this summer and fall.
The Davidson Impact Fellows program is the germination of a conversation between Carol Quillen and the Harvey family following President Quillen's Family Weekend address. In Davidson College the Harveys see an opportunity to partner with an institution to create a program with lasting legacy. Building on their personal commitment to professional and philanthropic support of non-profits, the Harveys hope to create a program that encourages graduates to consider this work in their own lives following commencement.
According to Mary Beth Harvey, "This has the opportunity to impact not only Davidson College, but we hope to make this a model program other institutions will replicate."
For the Harveys, Davidson's uniqueness lies in the strength of the honor code, the commitment to service learning, and the emphasis on being a responsible global citizen. The Davidson Impact Fellows defines the character of the institution and encompasses all these components of the Davidson experience into a meaningful career calling. The Harveys hope the Davidson Impact Fellows will become a hallmark of the Davidson experience and a powerful recruiting tool for future generations of students.
"Our experience developing this idea with Carol Quillen and the staff has been extraordinary," says Mary Beth. "To think that a conversation can develop into such a transformative program speaks to Davidson's environment of collaboration."
Utilizing the leadership gift from the Harveys, Davidson College launched a three-year pilot program, with the aspiration to significantly grow the Davidson Impact Fellows in the future. With more than 48 students applying for 15 positions during the inaugural year, the initial outpouring of support affirms that Davidson College students are passionate about pursuing lives of leadership and service. When Mary Beth Harvey learned the program was oversubscribed she commented, "I am deeply touched, but not surprised because of the outstanding character of Davidson students."
"At Davidson, gifted faculty show extraordinary young people how to grapple with urgent, hard as yet unanswered questions," said Quillen. "Through this culture of inquiry, our students discover and develop their talents in the light of what the world needs from them. The Davidson Impact Fellows program enables recent graduates to put their education into practice as they undertake significant projects for effective organizations that are making a difference in our community. Throughout the year, Davidson will provide mentoring, cohort-building activities, and other programs to enrich the work experience. The DIF initiative thus offers a singular opportunity for students to bridge their college experience and their work in the world."
"The Harveys' commitment to this program illustrates their deep understanding of Davidson's commitment both to our students and to education for leadership and service," she continued. "On behalf of every student who will be changed by this incredible program, I thank the Harveys for their generous gift and their wise counsel as we proceed with the inaugural year of implementation. We are fortunate to have parents and families like the Harveys who choose to take their Davidson involvement to the next level."
"I've always believed that if you are fortunate enough to have the means to make a difference, then you have a responsibility to do just that," said Mary Beth Harvey. "We make philanthropic decisions based on what inspires us, and we also consider how much of a difference our support can make for others. The Davidson Impact Fellows program is not only transformational for the graduates who are selected to participate; it is also deeply meaningful for the partnering organizations that rely heavily on innovative ideas and new ways of creating change to move their work forward."
The Harveys have great confidence in Davidson College and believe these partnerships will make a difference that long outlives the terms of the fellowships.
"We know Davidson students have the skills and the energy to make a real difference for the organizations to which they are assigned," said Chris Harvey. "Our daughter's freshman experience has been outstanding, and we have every reason to believe the rest of her time on campus will be just as fulfilling. President Quillen's vision for the future of Davidson is thoughtful and exciting, and we are pleased to be a part of the next chapter for this exceptional school."
Mary Beth Harvey presently works as an education and marketing consultant at Homer Learning, after spending much of her professional career as a researcher on work, family life, and education issues at the Families and Work Institute in NYC. Chris Harvey is the chief executive officer of the Private Bank in Latin America at J.P. Morgan. The Harveys have four children, Jack, Patrick, Brendan, and Grace, Davidson class of 2016.
Learn more about the Davidson Impact Fellows [http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x46171.xml] program, and the 2013-2014 opportunities [http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x46183.xml]. Without the vision and support of the Harvey family, Davidson graduates from the class of 2013 would not have the opportunity to pursue lives of leadership and service with these esteemed DIF partners. This is just one example of Davidson parents and alumni making a real difference in the lives of Davidson students through their philanthropy.
For more information contact Danielle Strickland, director of advancement communications, at 704-894-3101.
Mary Beth and Chris Harvey