R. Davis Noell '97
If the school is important to you, if the city is important to you, you should give back. I want people to see that there are individuals who went to Gilman, who don't live in Baltimore, who won't ever live in Baltimore, who are going to give back to the school and dedicate their time and resources to the school.
Though he'll argue his physical distance from Gilman—lives in Atlanta, works in New York City—may have hampered his efficacy as a former class secretary (he recently turned his pen over to Will Lanahan), R. Davis Noell '97's strong friendships with his classmates, the men he considers his closest friends, are what keep him tied to Gilman.
Other than Danny Mooney and John O. Schmick, most of the classmates with whom he is most close live around the country—Ben Lucas in Los Angeles, John Comly in Charlotte, Jay Sullivan in New York, Chuck Baker in D.C. Davis sees their decisions to live places other than Baltimore as a positive example of Gilman's ability to foster and build successful leaders who can thrive in any city in the country or in the world. He also recognizes the challenges of keeping these alumni engaged with a school hundreds or thousands of miles away.
"Though Ben may live the rest of his life in L.A. and never send his son to Gilman, and John is probably going to be in Charlotte and not send his son to Gilman, and I'm going to be in Atlanta and won't send my boys to Gilman, you've got to keep those people engaged." he says. "You want those people to give back and have ties to the school."
A relatively new Gilman trustee, Davis chooses to support Gilman with his volunteer efforts and his charitable giving to reestablish ties to Baltimore, to try to give back to Gilman for all it has done for him, and to set an example for others who live beyond Charm City.
Though he chose to make an unrestricted capital gift to endowment, allowing the School to use his funds where most needed, he is passionate about recruiting and retaining great teachers and ensuring that financial aid is able to help keep the School diverse and accessible to all.
He recognizes that people have other charitable commitments, whether to children's schools, university alma maters or other organizations, but he hopes they will honor their own Gilman experience and the role the School played in their lives.
"If the school is important to you, if the city is important to you, you should give back," he says. "I want people to see that there are individuals who went to Gilman, who don't live in Baltimore, who won't ever live in Baltimore, who are going to give back to the school and dedicate their time and resources to the school. I know there are a lot of other guys like me."