H.T. (Tom) Davison of Bryan, one of the long-time leaders of Texas 4-H, has been inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in recognition of his major contributions in serving the statewide youth development program.
Davison was honored for his achievements over 23 years, both as state director for 4-H and as executive director of the Texas 4-H Foundation, the fund-raising arm for the youth program operated by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
As the first 4-H Foundation executive director from 1967 to 1983, Davison started with no budget and built an organization that annually raised $500,000 in scholarships and $200,000 in program funds. In addition, he led efforts to build the $1.5 million Texas 4-H Conference Center on Lake Brownwood, which since 1975 has served as a year-round retreat center and an annual summer camp for 1,200 4-H youth.
“Mr. Davison’s passion for placing young people first is at the very core of his character,” said Dr. Chris Boleman, Texas 4-H and Youth Development program director. “The lasting impact of the Texas 4-H Center, the development of the 4-H scholarship program, and the emphasis he placed on volunteer leader development established his legacy for Texas 4-H for years to come.”
After leaving the foundation, Davison directed Texas 4-H for seven years until he retired in 1990. He reorganized the unit to emphasize a team approach in the development of 4-H programs and formalized efforts in fund-raising, volunteer training and youth development research, Boleman said.
He is the recipient of the Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award, Texas 4-H Foundation's award for scholarship development, and both the National Rifle Association’s Public Service Award and Distinguished Leadership Award.
Davison began his 32-year career with AgriLife Extension in 1958 as an assistant county agricultural agent in Hidalgo County. He holds a master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University.
The National 4-H Hall of Fame, housed at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., was established in 2002 and annually honors those “who made major contributions to 4-H at local, state and national levels.”
More than 65,000 young people are enrolled in 4-H clubs in Texas communities. Another 650,000 Texas youth get involved in 4-H through special educational opportunities at school, in after-school programs, or at neighborhood or youth centers.