Stephen Davis ’88

20 September 2023

Stephen Davis ’88 decided to fund a scholarship at Carleton for a simple reason: He wanted to make it possible for others to experience what he experienced when he came to Carleton from Chicago nearly 40 years ago.

Stephen Davis ’88

“The people and the professors at Carleton were really terrific,” says Davis, who earned a degree in economics from Carleton in 1988. “And the relatively isolated setting made it easy to focus on academics. I wanted others to have a chance to experience the same thing.”

Davis earned a law degree and an MBA from Columbia University in 1993. In 2000, after brief stints as a corporate attorney and an investment banker in Boston, Davis moved to San Francisco and founded Vista Equity Partners — a private equity firm specializing in investing in software and technology-enabled services—along with a friend and former classmate from business school.

Today, Davis — who is married and has three children — finds himself in a position where he can afford to help others. He pledged $100,000 to Carleton to establish an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents, James and Carrie Davis, and has given appreciated stock toward that pledge. The fund will provide financial assistance to students of color. Davis plans to add to the endowment over the years, and he hopes that others choose to do so also.