Davis recognized with Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Brian A. Davis, a junior majoring in African-American studies, criminology and sociology in College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, is the recipient of the 2017 Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award.

The award recognizes a junior, senior or graduate student for outstanding efforts to enhance the understanding of diverse cultures and create a community where all individuals are accepted and valued equally. The award is named for its benefactor, a Penn State alumnus.

During his tenure as the president of the Social Justice Coalition, Davis met with University leaders including President Eric Barron to discuss campus diversity and inclusive initiatives. He also created a coalition between State College and Penn State social justice organizations and each semester planned a peace walk to highlight the importance of being accepting and inclusive to all races, genders, ages, sexual orientations and religious affiliations.

“During my time here at Penn State, I have devoted most of my time to student activism and have made helping others a lifetime dedication,” said Davis. “I believe that students have the power to influence direct and serious change here at every level of the University. What’s most important to me is ensuring that I change the status quo of the campus for the currently enrolled students, as well as prepare the prospective students to ensure they will be able to maximize their college experience.”

He furthered his diversity and equality initiatives as an engaged student ambassador on Penn State’s Council on Engaged Scholarship and as an affiliate member of the President’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and a resident assistant in Pollock Halls. Davis, a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, has given more than a dozen invited talks related to diversity and was one of the directors for the 2017 MLK, Jr., Commemoration Committee.

Davis also presented a TEDTalk during this year’s 2017 TEDxPSU conference discussing how to dismantle contemporary police brutality through the lens of basketball.

Davis’ commitment to the betterment of others is best illustrated by his response to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. He created a University-wide initiative to collect supplies for residents before hand-delivering 5,000 bottles of water and $2,000 to households, food banks and churches.

Davis' global experiences include completing three study abroad programs in Cuba, Amsterdam and Australia in 2016.

Davis plans to use the award to participate in relief efforts in hurricane-ravaged Haiti, where in 2016 he aided the community by teaching English to youths and volunteering at an orphanage.

“I have a passion for helping others in dire need, and I believe that my duty is to help people domestically and internationally if I have the opportunity to do so,” said Davis. “This award will allow me to use my public speaking skills and student activism capabilities to continue advocating for other communities while holding people in charge accountable.”

Last Updated March 21, 2017