“My charitable giving is focused on education – a fitting tribute to my late parents, who raised me with a deep appreciation for education. My father had to turn down a full college scholarship because he had to work to support his widowed mother. My mother dropped out of NYU after two years because money was tight, and women were encouraged to leave school to make room for the GIs returning from WWII. My parents sacrificed to send me to Fairfield, and it’s my Fairfield Jesuit education that prepared me for a successful career.”
After graduating with a degree in politics from Fairfield, Sheila Davidson ’83 went on to complete her law degree at George Washington University.
“The core curriculum at Fairfield taught me to stretch and push myself to think critically about a wide range of issues. This has not only helped me in my legal career, but has also enriched my life. I use what I learned at Fairfield in my work every day.”
The network of friends Davidson made at Fairfield is also a big part of her life. “I formed deep and enduring friendships with my freshman hallmates on Loyola One,” she said. “We have celebrated weddings, births, career achieve-ments, and other milestones together. I treasure these relationships.”
For the past 19 years, Davidson has been an attorney at New York Life Insurance Company. She is chief legal officer and she loves her job. “I have the privilege of working for a company whose mission and values align with my own. The Company is guided by a simple philosophy: to be there for others when they need us most.”
Davidson lives in Manhattan with her husband and two sons.
Most Influential Fairfield Faculty
“There were many, though recently I have been appreciating the Rev. Donald Lynch, S.J., (late professor of English) whenever I spot or spout a Shakespeare quote.”
Davidson’s first gift to Fairfield was her senior class gift of $20 in 1983. Over the past 27 years, she has given consistently, with increasing generosity. Recently she made a major gift in support of the Ignatian Residential College endowment, bringing the institution close to matching the initial grant of $2,500,000 from the Lilly Endowment.
Davidson explained: “My gift is very important to me personally. St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed, ‘Teach me to give and not to count the cost’. The Ignatian Residential College embodies the Jesuit commitment to cura personalis – the development of the whole person, head and heart, intellect and feelings. I really believe this is a wonderful way to produce the much-needed next generation of ethically-oriented leaders.”
• George Jackson Academy
• Cristo Rey High School
• Madison Square Park Conservancy
• United Way