People

Garrick T. Davis (Fels '08)

May 16, 2013

By Frank Colleluori, C'14

Passion is a quality common to Fels students. This powerful force, driving individuals to succeed, is an attribute our faculty works to harness when molding the leaders of tomorrow and is a visible component of the work Fels students do following graduation. While Garrick T. Davis (MPA ‘08) always had a passion for politics and a desire to help people in a profound way, it was at Fels that he formed the skills and connections necessary to pursue what he refers to as, his “calling.”

“Politics was always the plan.” explains Davis. Even as an ambitious undergrad at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, he did not intend to run for elected office. But Davis knew his underlying fascination with public policy would one day lead him to the public sector. With a job in private sector finance, Davis felt he could do more to make a difference but was too busy to enroll in a fulltime graduate program. However the Fels Executive MPA Program offered him the flexibility necessary to manage his professional responsibilities while still providing Fels’ characteristically comprehensive education. “Fels was my fulcrum for a transition into public policy…The opportunity to work for the first African American president so soon after graduation dramatically transformed my world.”

In April 2009, after a call from a Fels affiliate in the Obama Administration, Davis left Philadelphia as a Presidential Appointee responsible for implementing the recently approved Recovery Act. Following what he calls, “the legislative sunset of the recovery act” Davis pursued an opening at the National Urban League. As the Legislative Director for Economic and Financial Policy, he found an opportunity use his relationships with key players to engage multiple policy areas while advocating in the interest of his constituents. Through unique political coalitions and alliances, Davis and those he brings together propose comprehensive and achievable plans for the nation’s improvement.

In every job Davis has felt the significance of his Fels education. From the technical knowledge gained in classes on budgeting and policy making to the skills crucial in negotiating politically difficult positions, Davis acquired the practical skills to succeed. He will never forget Dr. Mulhern’s class and “the richly detailed discussions that got inside the minds of folks from all different political persuasions and sparked debate.” He considers this class and Fels as a whole to be wonderful introductions to networking. By providing students with the ability to work across the aisle, Davis sees a “science associated with good public policy,” and hopes Fels can continue to “engender these sorts of working relationships for public solutions.” With these goals in mind, Garrick Davis hopes to see Fels continue in its mission to cultivate the passion of its students and inspire tomorrow’s generation of leaders.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu