Davidson Summer Fellowship

Named in honor of George T. Davidson, Jr. ’38, this fellowship is part of the Maine Community Fellowship program.

About the Davidson Fellowship

The Davidson Summer Fellowship honors a gifted alumnus of generous spirit who transformed thousands of people’s lives, young and old alike, through his teaching, mentorship, counseling and personal integrity.

The George T. Davidson Jr. ’38 Fellowship for the Common Good was established by Davidson’s godson, Dave Fitts ’64 and his wife, Bette, and the Davidson family including Rick ’69 and Jane Davidson, Raylene and Ron Newbury, and their son, Kevin Newbury ’00, in loving memory of Davidson and of his life in service to the Common Good, noting: 

Dave’s life was the embodiment of President McKeen’s call to use one’s education for the common good and not for private advantage.  By establishing the Davidson Fellowship, we hope to inspire generations of Bowdoin students to understand that a successful life of service is not necessarily defined by how much you give financially, but rather by how much you give of yourself to the betterment of others. 

This 10-week fellowship provides a $5,000 stipend and fellows are eligible for on campus housing. Davidson Fellows work with organizations that serve the needs of young people through direct service programs or research in areas related to youth. 

George T. Davidson Jr ’38

george davidsonAn inspirational teacher, counselor, coach and principal for nearly four decades, George T. Davidson Jr. ’38devoted his life to supporting others and serving the Common Good.  According to his godson, Dave Fitts ’64, Davidson had a profound and positive impact on everyone he met, including his roommate at Bowdoin, Fitts’ father Dave Fitts ’38.  High school classmates from Winchester, Massachusetts, Davidson and Fitts were as close as brothers until Fitts tragically died of pneumonia in 1944, on the day he was to serve as best man at Davidson’s wedding to his wife Fran.

After graduating from Bowdoin, Davidson, known as “Dave,” began his lifelong career as an educator at Kennett High School in Conway, New Hampshire. He started as a classroom teacher and coach. Later he served as the school’s youngest ever principal for 10 years. Missing direct contact with students, he returned to the classroom as a teacher and coach. In this capacity, students often reached out to him for guidance. This led to Dave founding and directing the school’s guidance department. Dave spent 33 years at Kennett, from 1939 to 1976, with a four-year break during World War II in which he served in the Army Air Corps. He was beloved by his colleagues, members of the community and especially his students.

A man with a boundless capacity for caring, Dave raised his two children, Raylene and Rick ’69, while tending to Fran, who developed multiple sclerosis in the 1950s.  He was devoted not only to his family but also to his community. In 1953 Dave and Fran founded an outdoor residential camp for boys, Camp Wakuta, which they ran until 1967.  In 1951, a brief stint as a fill-in pastor turned into a calling, and Dave served as lay pastor and later an ordained minister at several area churches for nearly 40 years.

Dave died in 2000, and his family, friends and community celebrated his many contributions to their lives.  In a eulogy, Dave’s former student, Hon. Francis Frasier, said of him:

This gentle, understanding, loyal, trustworthy, kind, humorous, pleasant, compassionate, congenial, encouraging, sincere, wise, enthusiastic and humble man by the sheer force of his monumental personal integrity and his God-given capacity to inspire, transformed thousands of young men and women who came under his tutelage, in their early teen years, into responsible, caring, honorable and decent adults.

The George T. Davidson Jr. ’38 Fellowship for the Common Good was established by Davidson’s godson, Dave Fitts ’64 and his wife, Bette, and the Davidson family including Rick ’69 and Jane Davidson, Raylene and Ron Newbury, and their son, Kevin Newbury ’00, in loving memory of Davidson and of his life in service to the Common Good, noting: 

Dave’s life was the embodiment of President McKeen’s call to use one’s education for the common good and not for private advantage.  By establishing the Davidson Fellowship, we hope to inspire generations of Bowdoin students to understand that a successful life of service is not necessarily defined by how much you give financially, but rather by how much you give of yourself to the betterment of others. 

 

Past Davidson Fellows

  • Julianna Burke '18: ArtVan, Summer 2017
  • Joseph Hilleary '20: Portland Housing Authority, Summer 2018
  • Lily Tedford '22: The Telling Room, Summer 2019
  • Maria Camila Riano '22: Portland Housing Authority, Summer 2020