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'Cat Impact Profile: Shannon Walters McFayden '82

Group photo of the McFayden family on track inside Richardson StadiumShannon Walters McFayden '82 is Davidson's current chair of the Board of Visitors. It isn't her first volunteer title, and it's safe to say it won't be her last. She has served on the Vann Center for Ethics Board of Directors, the Alumni Association board and as a volunteer for class reunions. When asked why she gives of her time to Davidson, a place she says allows "you to be you," her answers are fairly simple.

"I give because of gratitude; I give because I get a lot out of it; and I give because I believe in all Davidson stands for," she said. "It's a place that forever changed the course of my life. I didn't enroll looking for that, but that's what happened. I was challenged in ways that helped me see my potential, and I was supported in that learning. I felt stretched and nurtured. People really wanted to get to know who I was as a person."

Shannon is married to Greg '83, and both daughters chose Davidson and became involved with the field hockey program. Tyler graduated in 2014, and Lauren is a sophomore.

"Through my daughters' wonderful experiences, both as students and as athletes, I can see what happened and is still happening at Davidson for them and how similar it is to what happened for me in terms of changing the trajectory of my life," Shannon said. "I want to be an active and engaged parent in terms of fostering that, too."

Students—both in her family and otherwise—have become a huge part of Shannon's professional life. She has been hiring graduates for more than 30 years, and she says Davidson alumni are just different.

"It's an ability to think," she said. "It is the commitment to and understanding of how to ask good questions and how to find thoughtful, well-reasoned answers to solve whatever problem we're trying to solve. I see it every day-Davidson graduates asking probing, deep questions from every angle."

In addition to the disciplined skillset Davidson graduates possess, they also have a sense of the greater good, which is something Shannon says is especially needed in today's workforce.

"Davidson alumni believe in being a part of something bigger than them," she said. "There's a sense of community that is within Davidson and transcends Davidson when they leave. I don't know how that happens, but I don't ever want to see that change."