Inspiring hope in the lives of others is what drives Andrew Lovedale ’09 and his work as founder of Access to Success, also known as A2S. What started out as a program to bring shoes to children in Nigeria now is a robust organization that offers year-round after-school programs and summer bible camps, feeds more than 130 people every day and awards scholarships. Kids learn about tolerance, leadership and nutrition. They learn about college, and college becomes a realistic goal.
“The bottom line of A2S is about realizing potential and sticking with people,” said Lovedale, who says the concept of non-profit organizations was foreign to him growing up. “If someone had just given me a pair of shoes or a plate of food and walked away, I never would have the opportunities I’ve had in my life. You have to step in and help, but then you have to stay.”
Lovedale says Davidson prepared him with basic tools required to develop ideas and grow those ideas into something meaningful. He has surrounded himself with a team that helps him think.
The 6’8” star was recruited by Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bob McKillop while he was living and playing basketball in England. Coach McKillop spotted Lovedale sweeping the court after school, so later that day, kids would have a clean court. His contributions to Davidson were obviously going to extend beyond basketball.
And Davidson turned out to be the perfect place for him.
“I was different when I came to Davidson,” he said. “I was a child from tough circumstances in Nigeria. “People immediately invited me into their lives. And the basketball team gave me relationships that I still treasure today.” Lovedale is nothing if not sure of what he stands for, and Davidson embraced and encouraged his passions and convictions.
“I was able to practice my faith at Davidson,” said Lovedale. “It’s the biggest part of who I am, and I was able to stay grounded. I often think about how I was able to go to church with teammates and talk about the Lord together. Just being in the presence of Coach McKillop strengthened me. I’m inspired by what people say, but I’m even more inspired by the way they live their lives.”
Lovedale graduated with a degree in political science. He has played basketball professionally for STB Le Havre and UJAP Quimper in France and BBC Monthey in Switzerland. He and his wife, Molly McQuillen Lovedale ’07, live in Ohio. “The best thing Davidson ever gave me was my bride. And now we have a baby on the way. Actually, I think it’s safe to say Davidson has given me everything.”
Since this interview, the couple welcomed their son Osas, during the summer of 2015.
Learn about other Davidson game changers at www.davidson.edu/gamechangers.