Gift creates media-innovator-in-residence fund in Bellisario College

Brad Davis has spent much of his career investing in people and organizations with potential for impact, and he plans to do the same for the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications with the creation of the Brad and Bailey Davis Media Innovator-in-Residence Fund.

Brad Davis Credit: Melissa GonzalezAll Rights Reserved.

Davis, who earned his Penn State journalism degree in 1961, is the managing partner, with his son, of Ridge Capital Partners LLC. For more than two decades, their private equity firm has looked for opportunities to invest in promising companies.

“We buy existing companies, invest in them and then help grow the company,” Davis said. “We’re not into distress deals, real estate or start-ups. We try to be strategic and thoughtful about what we do. Plus, we’re focused on operations and help to manage the companies.”

Davis, drawn to the opportunity to launch a private equity venture that was seen as novel but emerging at the time, initially entered the business with a Penn State classmate.

“Today everybody knows about private equity and venture capital. It’s more institutionalized,” Davis said. “It’s not as much the entrepreneurial environment it used to be years ago.”

Davis enjoys finding and executing deals, and the competitive nature of the business motivates him. In many ways — from the entrepreneurial basis and competition to making the most of opportunities — the Media Innovator-in-Residence program will mirror Davis’ career.

The program will bring innovators and entrepreneurs to campus to interact with faculty and students. 

Each Media Innovator-in-Residence will be selected for their expertise in digital media, film, entertainment, journalism, media activism, music, strategic communications, or a related field. They will teach, help launch in-house media startups, lead media innovation experiments, and help faculty and students realize their own media enterprises. They will also help keep coursework and curricula cutting-edge for innovation and entrepreneurial approaches.

“It’s an interesting and important position,” Davis said. “From my experience it’s clear those experiences and skills are vital — and that they’ll be important for faculty and students going forward. Helping make that possible is exciting.” 

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated June 14, 2021