I write not to bury Davis, but to praise him.
Jack Davis was officially recognized for his $1.5 million donation to the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences this morning. President John Simpson and Dean Harvey Stenger introduced Jack to the crowd, praised and thanked him, then turned the podium over to him. Jack was genteel and gracious, and praised the university in return.
Then he put on his politician’s hat and gave us a lesson in trade imbalances and how that issue became square one of the current economic recession. He also pleaded with us to jump on his bandwagon.
I think most of those in attendance were academics so this may have been the wrong crowd to preach policy to. However, I’m glad to have gotten the opportunity to hear his impassioned speech, one that I’m sure he gave many times leading up to his defeat in the 26th district Democratic primary. It didn’t quite seem appropriate but the crowd was politely receptive. Frankly, if I were giving UB $1.5 million I’d expect them to applaud even if all I did was wear a rubber suit and walk backward.
He was not a jerk. He was very cordial and polite. I’d love to meet some of his employees and ask them how he is as a boss, to learn what Jack Davis is really like when he’s not out politicking.
Philanthropists labeled as irascible are still philanthropists. Jack could easily turn his back on Western New York; yet he does not. Kudos to him.