M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment Fund supports passion and innovation in teaching

The M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment Fund was created to advance the educational, professional and civic mission at Davenport University.

The fund — established in 2015 with a $5.5 million commitment from the M.E. Davenport Foundation — supports academic and learning-related initiatives, which are a part of the DU’s Vision 2020.

“This extraordinary gift from the M.E. Davenport Foundation is having a lasting impact on the university’s ability to develop innovative new programs,” said President Richard Pappas. “Some moments are truly transformational in the life of a university. This gift from the family foundation of our namesake, M.E. Davenport, was one of those moments.”

Projects funded by the endowment advance academic excellence, promote innovation and enrich the communities Davenport serves. Faculty and staff from all campuses may apply to this intra-university fund.

The following initiatives received funding approval for 2018:

Dr. Theresa Leto, associate professor of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health Professions, received funding for her proposal “Living Better with What You Have.” In collaboration with the Grand Rapids Urban League, DU’s Occupational Therapy department will offer programs to reduce food insecurity. Food insecurity refers to the struggle to access, obtain and manage food resources, leading to safety risks.

Dr. Tim Pennings, department chair for Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, will partner with his colleagues to offer the DU Summer Mathematics Camp. The camp for high school students will focus on Group Theory. The students will study finding patterns and relationships.

Dr. Roque Neto, department chair in the College of Urban Education, received funding for The Curiosity Project. He will look at curiosity through the lens of teacher education, opening a new line of research with the potential to positively impact the field of education.

Laura Harris, Lansing Campus faculty member and science laboratory coordinator, will continue her work with her students in the study of antibiotic resistance in Streptococcus. Antibiotic resistant streptococcus is a growing public health threat. Her research has the potential to develop into a novel diagnostic procedure.

Dr. Susan Gunn, dean of the College of Urban Education, will offer CSI Davenport: Forensic Summer Science Camp Program. The camp will expose high school students in Grand Rapids and metropolitan Detroit to various biological disciplines using forensic science laboratory curriculum.

The M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment Fund also funded the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow in March 2018.


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