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Estate Gift Establishes Fund for Vocation and Values Development at Catawba

February 23, 2010

Category: Events

Davis An estate gift in excess of $1.5 million will establish the Margaret Jenkins Davis Fund for Vocation and Values Development at Catawba College. The new fund was announced by Catawba student Drew Laurens to those gathered for a February 15th Campus Ministry/Lilly Center Dinner held in Peeler Crystal Lounge of the Robertson College-Community Center on campus.

Margaret Jenkins Davis, who died in 2008, was the only daughter of Catawba English professor, the late Dr. Raymond Jenkins.  Prior to her death, she created a scholarship fund to provide assistance to students preparing for the ministry in memory of her father. However, in her will, Mrs. Davis provided funding  to establish the new fund for vocation and values development. She stipulated that the fund would be an endowment, the income from which would be used to underwrite programs and activities designed to provide for the development of values among Catawba students and to help them determine vocation direction based upon these values.

Almough Mrs. Davis lived most of her adult life outside of North Carolina, in New York, she returned   to Salisbury in 1989 following the death of her husband. For close to two decades, she made her home on the edge of Catawba's campus and often attended campusEvents.

In 2003, Catawba received a $1.9 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. which allowed it to establish its Lilly Center for Vocation and Values and begin offering programs for students, faculty, staff, and the larger college community. The focus of these programs has been to help participants, especially students, discover and use their gifts in ways that serve others. A special focus has been to encourage students to consider seriously how they can make a real difference in today's world through through their life's work and by employing a value system predicated on service, meaningful engagement, and working for the greater good.

In 2006, the college received a $500,000 renewal grant from the Lilly Endowment to continue critical programs while the College sought endowment funds to sustain them beyond the grant period.


Dr. Ken Clapp
According to college chaplain and Lilly Center director, the Rev. Dr. Ken Clapp, the new Davis Fund for Vocation and Values Development is a major step in assuring the longevitiy of such programs at the college.

"We have made phenomenal strides in the years since we have received funding from the Lilly Endowment," Clapp said. "We have been able to involve a broad cross-section of the college community in our program offerings, including retreats, fora and colloquia. Catawba students have been very responsive to these programs and often point to experiences made possible by the Lilly Center as having been among their most important college experiences. We want to continue and grow that involvement and this generous gift from Mrs. Davis' estate will allow us to do that.

"Mrs. Davis was very concerned that our youth be provided direction and encouragement in the development of strong values as a foundation for their lives. The projects and activities that this endowment will support ware designed to do just that."  


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