Oakman High Principal Patrick Gann said the students and faculty were thrilled to hear about the donation, which came from Julian Davidson, an Oakman native and a pioneer of America’s missile defense program.
“I really feel like it’s an important thing when you see someone who is that successful come back and want to be involved in the school,” Gann said.
Davidson, now in his 80s, started work as an engineer at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal in 1957 and worked for 16 years in the U.S. Army’s Ballistic Missile Defense program. Davidson and his wife, Dorothy, are the namesake for the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, which houses the Saturn V rocket. The Davidsons contributed millions of dollars for the construction of the center.
In 1996, Julian Davidson formed Davidson Technologies in Huntsville, which employs more than 200 engineers involved in missile defense activities.
The Davidsons have also endowed scholarship programs at Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
“I’m a strong advocate of education” Julian Davidson said. “One of our priorities is to send as many people to school as we can.”
Gann said Oakman High’s computer lab had not been updated since 2005, and the computers are vital for online courses and business classes for students.
Julian Davidson said he and his wife agreed to the publicity of the donation in an effort to encourage more alumni to contribute to Oakman schools.
Gann said Davidson’s career helps demonstrate to students all that can be accomplished through hard work and education.
“It’s good for them to see a local success,” Gann said.