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Q&A with UC’s Interim President
Beverly Davenport

Beverly Davenport serves as the university’s interim president, a position she began July 15 after her selection by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. UC’s previous president, Santa Ono, stepped down to take the helm at the University of British Columbia. Davenport arrived at UC three years ago to serve as the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

To get to know more about her, we asked her a few questions.

Q: What is your leadership style?

Leadership is about managing hope, engendering trust and building a talented team. It’s about facilitating collaboration by treating others’ contributions with respect, and it’s about weighing options and making hard decisions. It’s about stamina, judgment, and good communication. It’s understanding that difference makes us smarter, more insightful, compassionate and better problem solvers.

UC Interim President Beverly Davenport

UC Interim President Beverly Davenport. photo/Lisa Ventre

It’s about integrity, honesty and character. It’s about caring for the people you spend more time with than anyone else in your life. It’s about developing a sense of humor and bringing joy to the workplace. Leadership is both a responsibility and a privilege. It’s more than a style; it’s a way of being.

Q: What do you like to do when you have a day off?

Be with family or do something peaceful. Go to a garden center, read, wander through antique shops or consignment stores. I also make it to Findlay Market once a week.

Q: If you could switch jobs for a day with one person on campus, who would it be and why?

Either the university architect, a designer in DAAP or a neuroscientist. I would love to design interiors, buildings, spaces, clothes, communities, graphics and anything else they would let me get my head around or hands on. A neuroscientist... I would like to know more about the science and biochemical underpinnings of brain-behavior connections.
 
Q: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

I am one of a long line of strong southern women. I come from a family of makers — artists, designers, builders, decorators, dressmakers and homemakers. I think making things stems from innate creativity and necessity. My mother was a homemaker with four children; three are daughters. Her mother was an artist who was widowed at 42 with six children; three were daughters. This grandmother took me to the library every Saturday and taught me to love books. My other grandmother was a single mother who raised two sons by working as a seamstress. She made most of my clothes and taught me to sew.

All of these women taught me something about strength and resilience and creativity. They taught me about hard work and responsibility. They instilled in me a sense of respect and pride and caretaking. A lot was expected, but a lot was given in terms of love and support. I developed a sense of humor, and I developed courage. I was rewarded for working hard and doing well.

So you see, I am a lot like UC. Onward and upward is not just a slogan. It is a part of who we are.

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