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Davenport University Launches $35 Million Fundraising Campaign to ‘Elevate’ Education and Address Michigan’s Talent Gap

University stressed its commitment to helping students become the leaders Michigan’s economy and communities need to elevate and thrive

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Davenport University unveiled a fundraising campaign that asks individuals, businesses, and foundations to ‘elevate’ Michigan’s talent by investing in its students and the programs dedicated to improve their success.

The campaign includes support for Michigan’s first-generation students, K-12 urban educators, and the Latino/a/x community. Davenport has already raised $22.9 million of its $35 million goal through the support of generous donors and grants.

“This campaign aligns with the goals of Davenport’s vision, Vision 2025, that is pushing our university to set the bar in higher education by removing situational, social, and financial barriers so that all students have the opportunity to become the leaders Michigan’s economy and communities need to elevate and thrive,” said Dr. Richard J. Pappas, Davenport University president. “Our ability to solve these issues and expand access for students will enable our university to nurture and grow the diverse talent needed to address Michigan’s growing talent gap.”

Campaign funding will support custom-built and highly impactful programs including the university’s College of Urban Education, its first-generation initiative, and Casa Latina, new dual language degree programs and student services designed specifically to support bilingual students.

Anyone interested in helping the university achieve this vision and help more students achieve personal and career success can visit

Elevate campaign funding will support:


Davenport is recruiting and preparing teachers at the undergraduate level to address the substantial talent gap in STEM education in urban districts nationally. The new undergraduate program utilizes the College of Urban Education’s proven approach of a day-one coaching/mentoring model, data analytics in the classroom, and culturally responsive teaching embedded in every course.


The university has launched custom programming and activities designed to support first-generation students by addressing academic, emotional and financial obstacles to ensure Davenport students thrive in their first year in college and ultimately reach graduation.


With a new approach to higher education, Davenport will support the Latino/a/x community by providing dual language degrees leading to high-demand careers. This program will grow the number of bilingual professionals, equally fluent in English and Spanish, needed to strengthen Michigan’s workforce in business, healthcare, education, technology, and the sciences.


A focus on mental health will see the university expand academic programming to develop future professionals in these high-demand careers and additional on-site support and mental health services for students on its campuses.


Davenport has been offering online classes to students for more than 20 years. Its recent Global Campus expansion to offer Online+, extending its class offerings to include Livestream, on-demand, flex, and blended options, allows students to learn in the format most beneficial to their needs.


The university is committed to developing additional scholarships to allow more Davenport students to graduate with degrees in rewarding careers and the lowest student debt possible.

During the quiet phase, the Elevate Campaign has received generous leadership contributions towards these priorities, including commitments from;

  • the Jandernoa Foundation supporting Urban Educators
  • the Eileen DeVries Family Foundation supporting First-Generation Scholarships
  • Keith and Kathy Klingenberg creating the Klingenberg Mental Health Fund
  • Steve and Tana Wessell, in honor of Ty Wessell, funding the Casa Latina Launch
  • the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation which created an impactful scholarship match fund along with a commitment to first-generation students, urban educators and the launch of Casa Latina

About Davenport University:

Founded in 1866, Davenport is a private, non-profit university serving about 5,500 students at campuses across Michigan and online. With tuition among the lowest of all private universities in the state, Davenport provides high academic quality, small class sizes, conveniently located campuses, faculty with real-world experience, and more than 60 dynamic undergraduate and graduate programs.


Amy Miller

Davenport University



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