John and Lisa Robinson Chidsey of Coral Gables, Fla., have committed $10 million to Davidson College in support of three institutional priorities-the first phase of the college's Academic Neighborhood, scholarships for exceptional Davidson students and leadership initiatives through the Chidsey Center for Leadership Development. John W. Chidsey III, the former executive chair and CEO of Burger King Corp., is currently the chair of the Davidson College Board of Trustees.
"Lisa and I chose to make this gift now because we believe in the vision of the college, the leadership of President Carol Quillen, and the compelling case Carol and Davidson College make for why the liberal arts matter now more than ever," said John. "We want to support Davidson's future in a way that moves several institutional priorities forward."
One part of the Chidseys' gift supports the New Academic Building, phase one of Davidson's Academic Neighborhood, an initiative that received a $45 million lead gift from The Duke Endowment in 2012. This comprehensive, 10-year construction and renovation plan aims to provide more opportunities for transdisciplinary study, research and engagement across campus. With the Chidseys' gift, the total amount raised for the $74 million building surpasses $60 million.
A second part of the couple's gift supports scholarships that will make a Davidson education possible for outstanding students.
"I never would have accomplished a tenth of what I have without Davidson. It was a transformative place for me," said John. "Making sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to attend a place like Davidson is important to us."
Finally, support of the Chidsey Center for Leadership and Development will further prepare students for lives that positively affect the campus, community and world. The center, which opened in 2007 thanks to a leadership gift from the couple, offers a range of programs and resources, including the Chidsey Fellows, Chidsey Leadership Lecture Series, student retreats and customized workshops.
"In the world we live in today, whether you're running a for-profit business, a nonprofit organization or working in a government role, there are so many opportunities to lead," said John. "Davidson is a great place to train future leaders. I think the members of our faculty do a great job, and the leadership center gives students opportunities to learn about themselves, how they are perceived and how other people lead. It's a place to try out new ideas and experiment with different approaches to leadership."
"John and Lisa's extraordinary investment will enable Davidson to demonstrate the power of our liberal arts experience for students who want to lead in today's world," said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. "We are profoundly grateful for their uncompromising commitment to educational excellence, to educational access for all talented students and to the values and vision of Davidson College."
John and Lisa Chidsey are Davidson alumni from the class of 1983, and they have generously supported various programs at Davidson College since graduation. John is currently the executive chairman of Red Book Connect and serves on the boards of HealthSouth and Norwegian Cruise Lines.