Gift from Alumna’s Estate Creates Endowed Chair in Biology

June 5, 2018
Floyd DavidsonFloyd Davidson, Ph.D., was a member of Baylor's faculty from 1946 to 1977 and served as chairman of the department of biology. After his retirement, he continued teaching and served as director of the Baylor University Retired Professors/Administrators Program.

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WACO, Texas (June 5, 2018) – Baylor University today announced the establishment of The Floyd F. Davidson Endowed Memorial Chair in Biology, made possible through a gift of approximately $2.5 million from the estate of Lorene Taylor Davidson, who died in 2013 at the age of 100. Lorene and her husband, Floyd Davidson, Ph.D., were longtime Baylor supporters who blended giving to Baylor during their lifetimes with the inclusion of a gift to Baylor in their estate. Floyd Davidson died in 1990.

“The philanthropic support Lorene and Floyd Davidson provided during the course of their lives and now into perpetuity reflects their deep love for Baylor and their passion for education,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We are deeply grateful to this exemplary Baylor couple and their entire extended family. Their generosity will enable Baylor’s star to shine brightly as a Christian research university for many generations to come.”

In the coming months, the University will conduct a national search for a renowned scholar and teacher to occupy The Davidson Chair in Biology.

A native of Pine Hill, Texas, Lorene Davidson graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) with a bachelor’s in English and then earned a master’s in education from the University of Wisconsin. While at SFA she met Floyd Davidson, who was teaching biology, and they married soon after World War II. In 1946, they moved to Waco when Floyd joined Baylor’s faculty as a professor of biology. Lorene was named a Baylor Alumna by Choice in 1986. She served as president of the Baylor University Round Table and the Waco Audubon Society.

Floyd Davidson earned a bachelor of science and a master of arts from Baylor in 1932 and 1933, respectively, before receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1941. He was a member of Baylor’s faculty from 1946 to 1977 and served as chairman of the department of biology. After his retirement, Floyd continued teaching and served as director of the Baylor University Retired Professors/Administrators Program. He also served as president of the Texas Academy of Science.

The Davidsons’ history of faithfully supporting Baylor includes their longtime sponsorship of Alpha Omega sorority (now Pi Beta Phi), Beta Beta Beta and the establishment of The Lorene and Floyd D. Davidson Endowed Lecture Fund in Biology in 1979. Following Floyd’s death, Lorene continued to live near the Baylor campus and unwaveringly supported the University. In 1999, she established The Lorene Taylor and Floyd F. Davidson Endowed Scholarship Fund in Music. Baylor University recognized the generosity of the Davidsons by inducting them into the Medallion Fellowship in 2004, bestowing upon them the James Huckins Medallion. They also were members of the Endowed Scholarship Society and the Old Main Society.

In 1998, Lorene Davidson indicated her intent to establish an endowed fund to honor her late husband through current and future gifts. She hoped the funds would be sufficient to create a professorship. Due to her early planning, generosity and long life, her estate gift significantly grew over time — enough to reach the level required to create an endowed chair.

“Lorene and Floyd Davidson’s gifts to Baylor over many decades have supported Baylor’s enduring commitment to great undergraduate teaching, and Lorene’s estate gift is a wonderful reflection of their practice of directing their philanthropy to causes they were passionate about,” said Larry Smith, assistant vice president of Baylor’s Office of Gift Planning. “Such legacy-creating gifts from Baylor alumni and friends come in all sizes and in many types. Lorene made the most of her philanthropy by purposefully discussing with Baylor during her lifetime how her planned giving could best fulfill her goals.”

For more information about making a planned gift to Baylor, contact the Baylor Office of Gift Planning at 254-710-2561 or Larry_Smith@baylor.edu, or go to www.baylor.edu/waystogive to download the Ways to Give Guide for helpful information on the many ways to support Baylor’s mission.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.

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