Success Through Service
By Miles Doyle
Michael Davidson, FCRH ’94, knows a thing or two about connecting people with the resources they need to succeed.
|Michael Davidson, FCRH '94
Photo by Jon Roemer
As a senior vice president and corporate workplace executive at Bank of America, Davidson has played a leading role in the strategic planning and development of the new 2.1 million-square-foot Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the second tallest building in Manhattan.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come,” said Davidson. “It's inspiring to see what can be accomplished when people work together toward a common goal and a shared vision.”
Davidson, who graduated magna cum laude from Fordham with a dual degree in economics and philosophy, started laying the groundwork for Bank of America’s move into the new tower in 2005, when he joined the company after eight years with Morgan Stanley as an assistant to the head of corporate services. His time at Morgan Stanley included a six-year assignment overseas, during which he lived and worked in Tokyo and London. Prior to that, Davidson was a commercial property manager for Tishman Speyer Properties and Hine Interests Limited Partnership.
Helping people—and companies—prepare for success is a job that comes naturally to him: He’s been doing it since his days at Fordham, and he has figured out a way to give Fordham graduates the tools they’ll need to leave their own mark on the world.
A member of the President’s Council, which works in part to mentor young alumni, and Fordham College at Rose Hill’s Board of Visitors, Davidson recently established an endowed scholarship to benefit a Fordham senior who is interested in pursuing a career in philanthropy or community service.
“The spirit of service, curiosity and scholarship is one that my family instilled, and that really blossomed during my years at Rose Hill,” said Davidson, who still recalls Jonathan Kozol's 1994 commencement address at Fordham, during which the renowned educator and activist urged graduates to give back to their communities. Davidson took that message to heart, and he continues to put it into practice.
“Service and philanthropy are rewarding in ways that transcend the material compensations of life," he said. "This [scholarship] is a chance for Fordham graduates to pursue a life devoted to helping others.”
In addition to establishing the endowed scholarship, Davidson is a regular media and liturgical minister at the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass at the University Church and serves as a mentor and adviser to One Youth International, a nonprofit organization established and operated by recent Fordham graduates to help grassroots efforts to meet the needs of impoverished children in east Africa.
He’s also raised approximately $75,000 for various causes and organizations over the years by running in seven different marathons on seven different continents—including Antarctica.
On Nov. 2, Davidson ran the New York City Marathon for the third time—his 10th marathon to date—and raised more than $3,000 for St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers.
“The spirit of service stems from an attitude of gratitude and the importance of giving back all that has been given to me,” said Davidson. “In fundraising, you really have to contribute something of yourself first, in order to ask people to do the same of themselves.”
—Miles Doyle, FCRH '01, is the associate editor of FORDHAM magazine.