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Campaign ally recalls Valley roots, supports Acadia on multiple levels

October 28, 2020

By Fred Sgambati (’83)

Although David Davidson (’71, ’74) has achieved much in life, he has never forgotten his humble beginnings and believes firmly in supporting the University that prepared him for his enviable success.

David grew up on a 45-acre fruit farm on Gaspereau Mountain in the Annapolis Valley. His upbringing was typical of most family-owned Valley operations: the farm required a lot of attention; the work was hard and money was tight. He understood the value of a post-secondary education, but realized he would not be able to attend university anywhere other than Acadia. He enrolled in the late 1960s and earned two degrees: a BSc in geology in 1971 and an MSc in 1974.

After graduation, David went to work for Placer as a field geologist, travelling the world and spending lengthy periods of time in less-than-inviting locations. For family reasons, he decided to reorient his career and moved into business analysis with Wood Gundy, Newcrest Capital (subsequently purchased by TD), and most recently with Paradigm Capital in Toronto, where he is a partner and senior analyst specializing in metals and mining. He was much aided in this transition by an MBA from the University of Toronto in the mid-1980s.

Generous gifts

David and his wife Gina have always been ready to help Acadia deliver a unique student experience. They have made generous gifts in two consecutive fundraising campaigns; supported the recent Science Complex renewal project, with the Gordon and Lillian Davidson Laboratory in Elliott Hall named in honour of David’s parents; and recently donated more than half a million dollars to the Acadia Centre for Student Success. The Centre will provide services, people and programs that promote strength, resilience and academic achievement, and will also extend Acadia’s stepped care model of mental health services to include general health promotion, illness prevention, and harms reduction activities aimed at the entire campus.

Through the same gift, David and Gina also established the Davidson Family Scholar-Bursary in Economics, two awards of $2,500 each that will be granted to a returning full-time female student majoring in Economics in recognition of scholastic achievement and financial need.

“Acadia gave me the chance to explore new avenues of endeavour and develop skills and opportunities that have allowed me to enjoy a wonderful career, travel the world, and be in a position to provide financial and personal support at Acadia. Gina and I are delighted to play a role in enhancing the Acadia experience for students today and ensuring that they have the resources and facilities in the future to make a difference in their communities after graduation.”

Vice-President, Advancement Dr. Rod Morrison extended thanks to David and Gina on behalf of the University, saying, “David’s commitment to Acadia is a perfect example of the transformative power of the Acadia experience. The foundational learning he received during his undergraduate years became a springboard for future success, and we are so grateful to David and Gina for their outstanding philanthropy. They are truly representative of our motto, In pulvere vinces, and embody everything that makes Acadia a destination of choice for students from around the world.”

David and Gina live in East York, ON, and have two adult daughters, but they return to Gaspereau regularly, having inherited the family farm. It is too far up the hill to be used for vineyards, so David contracts out the land to local fruit-growers. Not surprising, really – it’s another way David remains rooted to the region while being ever-mindful of the life-changing potential of his alma mater on the other side of the mountain.