Expanding Horizons

The Davis Fund for Student Experiences makes enriching, real-world opportunities accessible to all Villanova Business students

By Megan Walsh-Boyle

Ask Villanova School of Business students about some of their most defining educational experiences, and you’re likely to get answers that take you well beyond the classroom.

Spending Christmas in Nigeria working with a nonprofit to combat hunger. Living in New York City for the summer to intern with one of the world’s leading investment firms. Traveling to Chicago to take part in discussions with the brightest minds in economics at a global business summit.

These are just a few examples of the real-world learning opportunities made possible through the Davis Fund for Student Experiences. Since launching in 2019, the fund has supported more than 900 experiences for undergraduate and graduate VSB students.

Priceless learning opportunities can sometimes come with a hefty price tag. That’s why Jim Davis ’81 VSB, chairman and co-founder of staffing-services firm Allegis Group, and his wife, Kim, created the fund, part of a $50 million transformative gift to VSB. One of their primary goals was to ensure that financial cost wouldn’t keep students from pursuing opportunities that push their academic and professional growth to an even higher level.

 “We really want students to think big,” says Melinda German, associate dean, Undergraduate Business Programs, who sits on the Davis Fund Committee. “To think about, what if they could do anything they wanted to do—professional development, travel, case competitions, whatever it might be. Nothing should hold them back.” 

The Davis Fund has enhanced the student experience in countless ways. It enables students to pursue deeper knowledge and expertise that will put them at an even greater advantage to achieve their goals.

Joyce E. A. Russell, PhD, the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of VSB

Student experiences have run the gamut from study abroad and immersion programs to conferences, independent research, nonprofit service and internships—basically anything that enables a student to take advantage of everything that is out there in the world.

To receive funding, students submit an application that demonstrates the value of the learning experience relative to their goals, along with estimated expenses.

In less than three years, the program has benefited many VSB students eager to use the skills and resources gained in the classroom in more hands-on experiences. “The Davis Fund has enhanced the student experience in countless ways,” says Joyce E. A. Russell, PhD, the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of VSB. “It enables students to pursue deeper knowledge and expertise that will put them at an even greater advantage to achieve their goals.”

headshot of Julia Jureidini

“I chose to study abroad to expand my intellectual perspective. To be able to learn about politics, philosophy and economics from some of the greatest minds at the University of Cambridge was absolutely priceless.”

Julia Jureidini ’22 VSB
Accounting and Management Information Systems Major

headshot of Ha Dinh

“Learning about international economic issues while studying at the Institute of Economic and Political Studies at the University of Cambridge, England, elevated my understanding of the global economy and of the British financial system. I came out of Cambridge feeling challenged, refreshed and excited for my road ahead, where I still have so many things to learn.”

Ha Dinh ’21 VSB
Incoming Sales and Trading Analyst, Citigroup Global Markets

headshot of Maria Espinoza

“An in-person internship with Goldman Sachs not only opened my eyes to what a corporate career looks like, I also lived at New York University with about 30 interns, so it was easy for me to network and make friendships. As a first-generation Latinx college student, it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I hope to one day pass this generosity on to students like myself.”

Maria Espinoza ’22 VSB
Accounting Major with a Minor in Spanish

headshot of Adam Kebbeh

“The Africa Business Conference at Harvard University in 2020 opened my eyes to all the innovative and unique ways that entrepreneurs are making an impact. As a native Gambian, it really inspired me to think of ways that I can pay it forward and contribute to the success of our communities.”

Adam Kebbeh ’20 VSB
Senior Financial Analyst, Goldman Sachs

headshot of Carter Lawhorn

“I was fortunate to attend the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference in April 2021, where I learned how analytics impact sport-related decisions from leaders in the industry, including Mark Cuban, Dana White and Erika Nardini. I even competed against former NFL player Darius Butler and NBA analyst Kirk Goldsberry in a quiz and won. Though this was all virtual, it was such a rewarding experience.”

Carter Lawhorn ’22 MS
Business Analytics Program


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