Alumnus R. Matt Davis makes giving back a priority

R. Matt Davis, journalism ‘86 and 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient, is currently the president of Driftwood Leadership, LLC. His company provides training and consulting to help develop inspirational leaders. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Altria Group, Inc.

While he’s creating change within organizations, he’s also making a tremendous impact in the community, with his involvement in, Saratoga WarHorse, MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences Alumni Board, and World Freerunning Parkour Federation. 

“I am involved in community and charity organizations because those who have been given much … much is required,” Davis said. “I have been so grateful to the help I received from the communities I came from including MSU that made me the leader and person I am today. No one does it alone.  Giving back is one way to show my gratitude for what has been given to me and the success I have had in my life’s journey.”

He and his wife, Kathleen, have made significant contributions to Michigan State University. They donated $1 million to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and donated $1 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine.  In addition, they established endowments at both of the Colleges.

The R. Matt Davis Communication Excellence Fund will provide discretionary support to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, to pursue new and innovative initiatives and learning opportunities that will give students a leg-up as they enter the ever-changing landscape of a career in communications. The Mercedes Davis Fund, named after their beloved pet, will support specialized care for small animals at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center.

Davis points to his degree from MSU as a catalyst in his career and philanthropic efforts.

“My ComArtSci degree gave me the foundation to do whatever I wanted in life,” he said. “Receiving a degree from the College of ComArtSci at MSU enabled me to understand the true power of communications to change the world and make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

He also has this advice to offer other MSU alumni, saying: “I would like to encourage all alumni of the ComArtSci college at MSU to give back in some way to the college.  No one becomes a success in any profession without the necessary training, encouragement and skills.  The ComArtSci college at MSU provides that to us.”

By Jennifer Trenkamp and Devon Barrett