The Passing of Dr. Dorothy Davidson: Engineering Pioneer, Philanthropist and Friend
May 11, 2021 Huntsville, AL –
Team Davidson announces with great sorrow the passing of Dr. Dorothy S. Davidson, Executive Chair of the Davidson Technologies, Inc. Board of Directors. Davidson passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, May 11th. Davidson was a vanguard, not only for women in her field, but a pioneer within the engineering industry as a whole. Dorothy Davidson is a native of Northern Virginia. She began her professional career after earning a BS in Mathematics in 1956. She then accepted a position as a research mathematician with the US Air Force Air Staff at the Pentagon during which time she was selected for the one year Management Intern Program. While in the program, she continued studies in business administration and advanced mathematics. In 1962, Dr. Davidson joined the research staff at the US Patent Office as a research mathematician where she worked to develop search algorithms utilized in patent searches. In 1963, at the expense of her employer, Dr. Davidson was sent for intensified courses in Systems Engineering. In 1965, Dr. Davidson joined private industry where she again worked on DOD programs in designing Command and Control and Information Retrieval Systems for both field and headquarters. During the 70s she began designing systems for military use within the NATO community. Within her scope of NATO support, Davidson interfaced with NATO countries' private industrial firms and research institutes on the development of CC and weapon systems for those respective countries.
In 1996 Dr. Julian and Dorothy Davidson founded Davidson Technologies, Inc. Throughout her storied career, she attained many accolades and achievements, but none as rewarding as assuming the role of CEO and Chairman of the Davidson Board of Directors following the death of her husband in 2013. She took great pride in both maintaining Davidson’s reputation of performance excellence, and in transforming the company into what it is today. She remained active in the daily business operations of the company until her final days.
Davidson was also a pillar of community philanthropy for more than 25 years, diligently donating her time and resources in support of dozens of organizations including: Huntsville Museum of Art, where she funded the construction of the Davidson Center for the Aville Symphony; the Saturn V Restoration Executive Committee; The Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the US Space and Rocket Center; National Children’s Advocacy Center; Kids to Love Foundation; Calhoun Community College; Auburn University School of Engineering; Auburn University Museum of Art; Decatur’s Cook Museum, and Huntsville Botanical Garden, among others. Throughout her career, Davidson, along with her husband, made numerous transformational contributions to Auburn Engineering, strongly supporting engineering education and workforce development. In addition to support of scholarships and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Davidson gave a $5 million gift to renovate Broun Hall, home of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in honor of Julian.
Her gifts are a testament to the lives she touched and the thousands who will continue to benefit for generations to come as a result of her servant-leadership, community stewardship, and altruism. Dr. Dorothy Davidson, may your legacy and impact endure, always.