The Clemson Alumni Association presented Richard M. Davies, a Charlotte business owner and volunteer, with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor for a Clemson graduate.
“Rich Davies sets an extraordinary example of what a Clemson graduate can accomplish,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “He is a leader in his career, he is a dedicated public servant who gives back tirelessly to his community, and he is a loyal and devoted Clemson supporter. We are exceedingly proud to call him part of the Clemson family.”
Davies grew up in Durban, a coastal city in South Africa, playing soccer and rugby, and briefly competed as a professional cricket player in England. His family moved to the United States in 1982. After making a phone call to Danny Ford, Davies became a kicker for the Clemson University football team. He played football from 1982 to 1985 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1986.
A third-generation commercial property developer, Davies began his career in banking and loans before joining his father’s development business. Davies then founded and is now CEO of Pavilion Development Company, a real estate development firm based in Charlotte.
Davies has given back as a leader and visionary to several Clemson programs. He is a member of the Trevillian Cabinet for the College of Business and served as vice-chair on the executive committee of The Will to Lead capital campaign. An avid fan of Clemson athletics, Davies served on the athletic director’s advisory council and football committee under Terry Don Phillips. He is also president of the All-In Team Foundation founded by Dabo and Kathleen Swinney. He has supported the Tiger Golf Gathering and the new Larry B. Penley Jr. Golf Facility and hosts an annual PGA Championship dinner for Clemson leaders and Charlotte-area alumni.
From helping the disadvantaged to promoting education and conservation, Davies has been a leader for a variety of charitable causes. He’s served on the board of the Novant Foundation-Presbyterian Medical Center since 2009. He was named to the Forest Hill Church Council of Elders and is the past chair of the church’s finance and risk management committee and governance committee. He is a past chair of the Mecklenburg County board of advisers for Easter Seals, past member of the board of trustees of Charlotte Latin School, and past member of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. Davies is currently a member of the board of directors for the Guy Harvey Ocean Research Foundation. Tapping into a passion to help his home country, Davies founded the Sbonelo Scholarship Foundation that awards scholarships to economically disadvantaged students in South Africa to attend top boarding schools.
The prestigious Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson University; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson family nominate potential winners, who are then selected by the Clemson Alumni Association as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.
“I have had a front-row seat in watching Rich serve and give to [Clemson] in so many ways,” wrote Dabo Swinney, head coach of Clemson Football. “He has given of his financial resources, but his service goes way beyond that. He has been a servant leader for Clemson both academically and athletically as he has chaired or led many different committees. He is the epitome of this award and the true spirit of Clemson.”
Davies and his wife, Kelly Carr Davies (’86), live in Charlotte and spend time in Florida. Their two sons, Christopher and Timothy, both graduated from Clemson, as did their daughter-in-law, Lauren Holley Davies.