By Emily Hazim ’26 (She/Her), Staff Writer
On October 10, 2022, Davidson College announced the donation of the Larry Hardaway ‘76 Endowment for Racial Equity and Social Justice by alumni Wayne and Susan Cunningham Jonas. Named after Larry Hardaway–a Davidson College football alumnus and the third Black student in the college’s history to join the football team–the endowment was made with the goal of supporting student-led racial and social justice work, specifically through the efforts of the football program’s P.A.C.E. initiative
Spearheaded by Head Coach Scott Abell and senior cornerback Quentin James ‘23, the P.A.C.E. initiative (which stands for Progress, Advocate, Cooperate, and Educate) was founded in 2020 by members of Davidson’s football team following the death of George Floyd. On August 28, 2020, members of the football team held P.A.C.E.’s first official gathering on Chambers Lawn in light of the shooting of Jacob Blake and to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March On Washington. As freshman cornerback for Davidson’s football team, Amare Hill ‘26 explains, “[The P.A.C.E. Initiative] steps out and speaks about [racism] and shows our community that [we don’t stand for it] and we’re with the Black community, [so] basically what P.A.C.E. does is spread Black awareness and Black leadership.”
The P.A.C.E. initiative is especially important at Davidson considering the fact that it is a predominantly white institution (P.W.I.). Though the College was founded in 1837, its first Black students were not accepted until 1964–nearly 130 years later. Larry Hardaway was only the third Black student to join the football team at Davidson, and beyond this, in 2012, he was also the first Black student to receive the James P. Hendrix award, which is “presented annually to a Davidson football letterman who, by the use of lessons learned on the playing field, has gone on to achieve outstanding success in his chosen profession.”
The recognition and commemoration of Hardaway’s legacy and accomplishments through the Endowment is extremely meaningful to many members of the Davidson community. Not only was he a role model for many Black students at Davidson in the years following his attendance, he also took his leadership roles outside of the Davidson community, making the subject of the Endowment very fitting.
Though Davidson is still a P.W.I. with its student body consisting of nearly 70% white students, the College makes a strong effort to create an inclusive space. Hill agrees that connecting with various kinds of people at Davidson isn’t a huge problem because “everybody here is very social and open […] and everyone communicates with each other.” Students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds can also find opportunities to connect through different affinity groups and other organizations such as the Black Student Union (BSU), the Davidson International Association (DASA), the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS).
Freshman offensive lineman for Davidson’s football team, Kyler Herring ‘26 shared that “coaches are very open to discussion with their players. If the players have something they want done or have something that they feel very strongly about, a lot of times they can approach the coaches and [they will] do anything in their power to give them the platform or the program to be able to speak out about [those] issues.”