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J. Paul Davenport Honored during Graduation

Former Board of Trustees Chairman Receives Distinguished Service Award

On his father Paul's behalf, Jeff Davenport, left, accepts a PCC Distinguished Service Award from PCC Trustees Chairman Charles Long during the college's spring commencement.

GREENVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators took a moment during last week’s graduation ceremony to honor J. Paul Davenport for serving on the PCC Board of Trustees for more than a decade.

Davenport, a businessman from Pactolus, received a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his dedication to PCC’s mission and students. He was unable to personally receive the award from PCC Trustees Chairman Charles Long due to health issues, so his son, Jeff, accepted it on his behalf.

In announcing the award, PCC President G. Dennis Massey said Davenport served as a PCC Trustee for 10 1/2 years, including two years as the board’s chairman. He resigned from the board on April 18 for health reasons.

As a trustee, Davenport chaired a task force in 2007 to extend PCC educational programs and services beyond the Winterville campus in an effort to reach a greater number of citizens. Massey said the PCC Farmville Center, which opened earlier this year, was a direct result of that initiative.

“Mr. Davenport is a special friend of the college whose contributions to PCC go beyond the word ‘distinguished’ in his personable and inclusive attitude and his ability to reach out to all members of the campus and community in meaningful, and humorous, ways,” Massey said.

A retired U.S. Air Force officer and partner to one of the largest agricultural enterprises in Pitt County and eastern North Carolina, Davenport joined PCC’s governing board in 2005, after being appointed by Pitt County Commissioners. He was selected as the board’s chairman in May 2011 and began serving in that capacity two months later.

After a serious stroke in 2013 that would have reduced most people’s participation in civic duties, Massey said Davenport remained a dedicated and valuable contributor to PCC and its mission to educate and empower citizens.

“He has been a valuable advisor and friend to me …,” Massey said.

A 1961 East Carolina University business education graduate, Davenport said in a 2011 interview that his work as a trustee was an important way for him to give back to the community and help PCC grow. He was confident the college would continue playing a key role in developing a skilled workforce for many years to come.

“With continued support from Pitt County Commissioners and the State Legislature, hard work from faculty, staff and students—which I know we will get—PCC will meet the challenges ahead and continue to be recognized as one of the top community colleges in North Carolina,” he said.

Before retiring from the Air Force with 22 years of service, Davenport achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. His professional background also includes 22 years as secretary and treasurer of J.P. Davenport and Son and more than 25 years filling the same roles for Davenport Farms.

The 79-year-old Davenport and his wife, Diana, who passed away last year, have two children and five grandchildren.

PCC Trustees established the Distinguished Service Award in 1989.