San Francisco Leader Belva Davis Bestowed with Honorary Doctorate in Acknowledgement of Her Trail-Blazing Contributions to Journalism and Equality

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Ms. Davis received an honorary doctorate today from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco during the commencement ceremony for the Academy’s MFA, MA and M.ARCH graduate degree programs.

Belva Davis is a widely admired, award-winning journalist and successful author, but she is more than the sum of her considerable achievements and professional career milestones. From growing up in the housing projects of Oakland, Ms. Davis went on to play a unique role in her pioneering work as the first African-American woman hired as a television news reporter on the West Coast.

Ms. Davis received an honorary doctorate today from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco during the commencement ceremony for the Academy’s MFA, MA and M.ARCH graduate degree programs. Over 700 Academy graduate students participated in today’s ceremony. President Dr. Elisa Stephens, who presented the honorary doctorate to Ms. Davis, says, “Belva Davis sets a tremendous example to all of us of what is possible to accomplish. We appreciate how Belva has enriched the lives of many of us in the Bay Area, for decades.”

Ms. Davis says, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so. These are words that guided and comforted me on my long road to a broadcast career, and I still find them valuable.”

Ms. Davis’s book, Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism, chronicles her long and successful career, while serving as an inspiration for professional and aspiring journalists, women and African-Americans. Making her television debut in 1963 on KTVU, Ms. Davis went on to anchor news programs at KPIX-TV, KQED Public Television and KRON-TV, in addition to 19 years as host of This Week in Northern California before retiring in 2012. Ms. Davis continues to be very active in the greater Bay Area as a labor activist, board member for community non-profits, and supporter of cultural institutions.

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About Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University, the largest private university of art and design in the United States, is educating students for the art and design jobs of the 21st century. Established in 1929, the Academy is an output-based higher education model that provides open admissions to all students, but imposes a rigorous curriculum that requires the students to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates a mastery of their field in order to graduate. Students are taught by a faculty of professionals from the existing marketplace, both online and on campus in San Francisco, who provide them with an understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s business environment. The Academy’s hands-on curriculum produces graduates who possess outstanding artistic and design skills—and equally as important, the ability to put those talents to work immediately after graduation. As a result, Academy graduates are ready to compete for and win the jobs of the 21st century in the fields of Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Fashion, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Visual Development, Web Design & New Media and Art Teaching Credential. Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC, NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) (BFA/MFA-IAD), NAAB (B-ARCH*, M-ARCH), and California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). *B-ARCH program in candidacy status. Visit for more information.

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susan toland