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Thomas E. Davidson receives UW Medallion Service Award

October 1, 2012
Man smiling
Thomas Davidson

By Julianne Couch, UW Alumnews

Alumnus and longtime University of Wyoming supporter Thomas E. Davidson has been presented the Medallion Service Award from the UW Alumni Association.

The Medallion Service Award, initiated in 1968 but not given annually, recognizes outstanding service and dedication to the university. Davidson will ride in UW's Homecoming parade Saturday, Oct. 13, and will be recognized at the UW-Air Force football game.

Davidson grew up in Laramie, on property that was the UW Livestock Farm, now the Wyoming Territorial Prison grounds. He says much of his life has been shaped by circumstance, of one thing leading to another rather unexpectedly, by a series of “turning points.”

For instance, Davidson taught vocational agriculture at the high school in Pinedale, upon graduating from UW. He recalls those days as the “most rewarding work” that he has ever done.

At Pinedale, he started the award-winning Wyoming Future Farmer magazine. That got him noticed, and he was offered a job in Washington, D.C., with The National Future Farmer magazine. During the next 32 years, Davidson worked in the Chicago area for major national farm and consumer magazines, including Progressive Farmer, Southern Living, Successful Farming, Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping.

His first involvement with UW was in the late 1980s, when he raised funds for the Centennial Complex, which houses the UW Art Museum and the American Heritage Center.

In spite of his successful career in magazine advertising and public relations, Davidson says he missed the satisfaction he felt working with students. Although he didn’t want to return to teaching, the impulse to help students spurred his involvement with the College of Agriculture, and with the College Business, helping to organize career centers and other student services.

On the College of Business Advisory Council, Davidson spearheaded the college’s efforts to develop the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center.

College of Business Dean Brent Hathaway says, “Despite his busy and distinguished career, Tom stayed true to his UW roots through a variety of vehicles, including more than 20 years of service on six UW national advisory boards. However, his board involvement reveals only a fraction of his commitment and dedication to the university that reared him.”

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey adds, “Many of our students, department heads and senior leadership either work with Tom directly or have benefitted from his efforts. Helping our students succeed academically; expanding the number of internships and career opportunities for students; and working with the Cooperative Extension Service to provide needed programs to Wyoming students are all examples of Tom’s efforts on behalf of the college.”

Davidson’s efforts can be seen across the campus. In 1995, upon the passing of his father, James Davidson, he established the James and Blanche Davidson scholarship, honoring his father’s contributions to the sheep industry. The elder Davidson was a longtime shepherd for UW.

Davidson assisted with the development, underwriting and marketing of UWyo magazine and Barnyards and Backyards, a College of Agriculture publication.

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