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Al Davis Interview digital audio recordings

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0635

Scope and Contents

The Al Davis Interview digital audio recordings contain parts three and four of a four part interview with Al Davis conducted by Jack Smith. Davis discusses the scandal at the Dome Arena in 1973, Kilian and Caroline Schmitt's interest in the Interfaith Chapel, George Eastman's interest in the Mechanics Institute, corporate giving, the founding of Margaret's House, how the Melbert B. Cary Collection came to RIT, the continued relationship with the trustees along with David Pankow's responsibility for those good relations, his overall confidence in RIT, and how he feels what Mrs. Carlson has done for the new campus may well have changed the course of history for RIT in the future.

Original cassette recordings were digitized on 12/14/2013.


  • Creation: 1997-1997

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred L. Davis had an extraordinary impact on RIT. For 70 years, Mr. Davis was engaged in the life of the university, serving as advisor to four RIT presidents, as a faculty member, a mentor, and a role model to both students and staff members. He was a dedicated and committed volunteer and benefactor who, as a retiree, contributed in numerous ways to making RIT the best it could be. Through these efforts, he developed an appreciation for the selfless generosity of RIT’s benefactors and their profound impact on the students and the greater community.

During his years as vice president in the 1960s and 1970s, Al Davis played a key role in shaping RIT’s future by helping to raise the funds to build a new campus in Henrietta. Always conscious of recognizing others’ generosity, Mr. Davis was instrumental in founding the Nathaniel Rochester Society (NRS) in 1967, and worked with Mr. and Mrs. Kilian Schmitt in developing the campus interfaith center. He was active in establishing the J. Warren McClure Professorship, the John Wiley Jones Lecture Series and the creation of many scholarships. He was also a charter member of the Ellingson Society, which was formed to recognize individuals who have made a planned or deferred gift to RIT.

In 1977, RIT board member Brackett Clark and his wife, Ruth, established the Alfred L. and Ruby C. Davis endowed scholarship to recognize the couple for their many contributions to the Institute, including establishing the Women’s Council of RIT. The scholarships are awarded to students who are campus leaders and who have demonstrated service to the university. In establishing these criteria, Davis recognized that the future of RIT depends upon the efforts of volunteer leaders.

In recognition of his many years of achievement and his continued advocacy and support for RIT, Mr. Davis received the Nathanial Rochester Society Award in 1988, the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1995, the Retirees Award in 2000, and in 2004 he was made an honorary member of the RIT Women’s Council. In 2006, Mr. Davis was presented with the prestigious Founders Award, which honors individuals who exemplify the type of devoted service and public and Institute spirit demonstrated by the founders of the Athenaeum and the Mechanics Institue, RIT’s forerunner.

Al Davis demonstrated through his own words and deeds the extraordinary importance of philanthropy in the life of the university. In 1996, for example, he funded a new campus child-care facility, Margaret’s House, named in memory of his late wife Margaret Welcher Davis. “Al Davis, affectionately known as ‘Mr. RIT’ on campus, had an unequalled impact on this university for seven decades,” says RIT president Bill Destler. “His contributions to RIT have been exceptional and will be felt for generations to come.”


2 Digital File(s) (Digital Audio files)




Digital audio recording of an interview with Al Davis. Al Davis was known as "Mr. RIT" for his devotion to the Institute. He served as vice president in the 1960s and 1970s and played a key role in shaping RIT's future by helping to raise the funds to build a new campus in Henrietta. The collection includes parts three and four of the interview. Parts one and two of the interview are currently missing.


The collection is arranged chronologically. Parts three and four are currently missing.

Physical Location

For access, contact RIT Archive Collections.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jennifer Roeszies in November 2015.

Al Davis Interview audio recordings
RIT Archives
Jennifer Roeszies
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA