The 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented in May to Stephen Davis '70, P '10, a global leader in the field of corporate governance. Also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Steve has been a thoughtful and generous contributor to both his community and the larger world since his years at The Country School.
Currently, Steve serves as associate director of the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors and as a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution. He has authored or co-authored several books, including The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda, which was named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. His 1987 book, Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Previously, Steve served as executive director of the Yale School of Management's Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and was a lecturer on the SOM faculty. He has also served on the U.S. SEC's Investor Advisory Committee, was co-organizer of the World Forum on Governance in Prague, and was a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Long Term Investing and the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International. In addition, he serves as President of consultant Davis Global Advisors and founder-editor of the Global Proxy Watch newsletter.
Presented annually to a Country School alumnus/a who "through actions, deeds, or words exemplifies the true spirit of The Country School," the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes individuals who, in the words of the school Mission statement, look beyond themselves, to work cooperatively with others, and to serve their communities and the larger world. To learn more about the Distinguished Alumni Award and previous recipients, click here.
In an eloquent, inspiring, and humor-laden speech to students, faculty, alumni, and guests during the Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony, Steve offered two major pieces of advice, both learned during his years at The Country School. First, when you find a mentor, do all you can to learn from him or her. And second, don't be afraid to try something; even if you discover that it wasn't right for you in the end, the experience will help lead you to your future. Click here to read the full text of his speech, in which he recalls the life-changing influence of former teacher and Head of School Tom West as well as some transformative experiences in the DeFrancis Gymnasium.
Steve was a student leader during his time at The Country School, serving as Student Council president and helping to run The Country School's first school store, proceeds from which benefited children on an Indian Reservation in the Southwest. During his graduation from The Country School, Steve's leadership skills were recognized in the following tribute:
Student Council President, world traveler, co-receiver of The Faculty Award, a Reading Prize, and the father of twelve - on stage - his droll humor and superb leadership have to a great extent made this one of the finest of graduating classes. ... All best wishes of success to his ambition to rise high up in government circles.
After graduating from The Country School, Steve went on to Choate Rosemary Hall, followed by Tufts University. He received his doctorate in international business and security studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and also studied at the London School of Economics.
Steve returned to The Country School when he and his wife, Clo, moved to Madison and enrolled their son, Gabriel. A member of the Class of 2010, and like his father the recipient of the school's Faculty Award, Gabriel went on to Choate Rosemary Hall. He will enter the University of Chicago.
Steve's two brothers, Jerry and Russell, are also Country School alumni; Jerry, a filmmaker, received The Country School's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. Their mother, Helen, was a long-time Country School trustee, and Steve served as a trustee himself when he was in his 20s.
Below, more photos from the Alumni Ceremony, during which members of the Class of 2014 were also inducted into the Alumni Association and the 8th Grade class banner was unfurled.
Steve and his parents, Helen and J. Sanford Davis.
Welcoming a member of the Class of 2014 into the Alumni Association. Steve is joined by Alumni Board Co-Chair Katherine Connolly '77 and fellow alumnus Peter Black '74.
The Class of 2014 Banner: "In this bright future, you can't forget your past" - Bob Marley.
Click here for more photos from the ceremony.