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Honorary Doctor of Divinity for Rev. Stephen R. Davenport III '64

The Rev. Stephen R. Davenport III, a 1964 graduate of Washington and Lee, was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Berkeley Divinity School of Yale University last month.

Steve was recognized, in large part, for his extensive work in Haiti since 1970. In those early days, he was a major supporter of the music school founded by the Sisters of St. Margaret, which became the Orchestra Philharmonique St. Trinite and later Haiti’s national orchestra.

According to the honorary degree citation from Berkeley, Steve met a seven-year-old musician named David Cesar at the Holy Trinity Music School Summer Camp and began a relationship that has centered on service to Haiti. So interconnected are their lives that Steve and Daniel received the honorary doctorates together and were honored on a single degree citation.

David was ultimately ordained to the priesthood and was supervised by Steve, who formerly served St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, in Washington, D.C., in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, and at the National Cathedral.

David eventually became the head of the 4,000-student music school, which was passed to the Diocese of Haiti.

Together, Steve and David have arranged concert tours, with more than 250 concerts since 1996 in the United States and Canada for the Haitian musicians.

After the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, and the music school, the orchestra and singers performed concerts in tent cities. Their North American tours now demonstrate, as the Berkeley citation stated, “the unconquerable spirit of Haiti and the Church’s message of hope in the midst of hardship and tragedy.”

Steve and David were recognized for the “determined, generous, and utterly devoted leadership you both have shown in your inspirational partnership.”

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