Ben J. Davenport Jr., of Chatham, will receive Virginia Tech’s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Presented each year at University Commencement, the Ruffner Medal recognizes individuals who have performed notable and distinguished service to Virginia Tech.

Davenport and his wife, Betty, are members of the President’s Circle within the Ut Prosim Society of donors, which is reserved for the university’s most-generous philanthropic supporters. Davenport co-led the effort to honor former university president Charles Steger by renaming the Center for European Studies and Architecture at Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, as the Steger Center for International Scholarship.

Davenport’s service to the university includes terms on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, including two years as rector. While he was rector in 2005, the university adopted the Virginia Tech Principles of Community.

Davenport has served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, including four years as its chair. He is past chair of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Board of Directors.

Davenport, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 1964 with a bachelor’s in business administration, has also served on the Pamplin College of Business Advisory Board, and has frequently volunteered in support of other university initiatives. He was a leader in establishing the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. Additionally, he has been a dedicated backer of Virginia Cooperative Extension, and an advocate for budget support from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Davenport’s service extends beyond Virginia Tech. He has held leadership positions with organizations including the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the Future of the Piedmont Foundation, the Danville Regional Foundation, and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the board of American National Bank and Trust Company.

Davenport is chairman of First Piedmont Corporation, a regional waste-management company, as well as Davenport Energy, a supplier of petroleum products in southern Virginia. He and his wife are members of Chatham Baptist Church and have served as deacons of the fellowship.

Written by Rich Polikoff

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