Prominent Local Business Owner and Community Leader to Deliver Address at Averett University’s Spring Commencement

Posted on April 30th, 2018 by Cassie Jones

Ben J. Davenport, Jr., the Chairman of First Piedmont Corporation and Davenport Energy, will speak to around 250 graduates during the University’s Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5. The ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m., will be held at the University’s E. Stuart James Grant Athletic & Convocation Center at the North Campus, 707 Mount Cross Rd. in Danville.

The graduates range in age from 20 to 77, with six international graduates from the following countries: England, Finland, Russia and Sweden. Approximately half of the students completed their degrees through the University’s Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program, and the other half are traditional graduates.

A graduate of Hargrave Military Academy and Virginia Tech, Davenport went on to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Program before returning to work with his father at what was then named Chatham Oil Company, now Davenport Energy – a regional petroleum supplier. He also launched First Piedmont Corporation in 1969 – a regional waste hauling and disposal company – and both companies have flourished and cover most of Southern Virginia, going as far west as West Virginia.

Davenport currently serves on a number of boards, including Hargrave Military Academy, Future of the Piedmont Foundation, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Mid-Atlantic Broadband, GoVa Board of Directors and the Virginia Tech Carilion Medical School Board. He is a life-long resident of Pittsylvania County, Va., where he lives with his wife, Betty. They are both very involved in their church, Chatham Baptist Church, and passionate about early childhood development projects. They have funded and work with Averett on a children’s music program, Growing Up Musically (GUM), an initiative in which Averett music faculty and students deliver a series of music programs for preschool students at local Head Start and Smart Beginnings’ childcare facilities.

All those attending Commencement will need a ticket to enter. Every graduate has an allotted number of tickets for their guests. Doors will close at 9:45 a.m. for the procession and reopen after the invocation.