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Pennie Davis Supported Local Causes Benefiting the Community

By Bill Wax

Builders of Bellevue University: Across the Years and Generations

In celebration of Bellevue University’s 50th Anniversary, we take time to recognize some of the many individuals and organizations that have helped to build the University into Nebraska’s largest private college or university. Community minded individuals like the late Pennie Z. Davis played a vital role as a Builder of Bellevue University. His son, Henry Davis, joined the Board in 2002 and is carrying on that tradition today.

Pennie Davis Supported Local Causes Benefiting the Community           

Pennie Z. Davis Legacy Bldr Pennie Davis

Community was an important theme for Pennie Z. Davis, long-time C.E.O. of Greater Omaha Packing Company. Davis, who served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards throughout his life and career, was a strong supporter and promoter of the arts, youth causes, and education. The Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center at Omaha’s Jewish Community Center is a national leader in early childhood development and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Pennie Davis served on the University Board of Directors for well over a decade and worked to garner community support for the University’s capital facilities and program development initiatives. He supported the University’s South Omaha Outreach scholarship program, to make a college degree more accessible to Latino and other minority and low-income residents of South Omaha. Pennie Davis died in 2002. The Pennie Z. Davis Atrium in the University’s Educational Services Building is named in his honor. He was inducted into the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Omaha Business Hall of Fame in 2010.

Henry Davis 1 Henry Davis

Pennie Davis’ son, Henry A. Davis, joined Bellevue University’s Board of Directors in 2002. He is the current President and C.E.O. of Greater Omaha Packing, and, like his father, is carrying on the tradition of making a difference in the lives of people in the community, particularly in South Omaha, where the company has two plants and many of the company’s employees live. Henry sees the company’s people are its best attribute. Since joining the company after graduating from college in 1973 when there were 40 employees, he has seen Greater Omaha Packing grow to become the nation’s seventh largest producer of beef, employing over 1,200 people and marketing products to more than 60 foreign countries.

A past recipient of the City of Omaha’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award, Henry Davis credits his father with instilling a strong sense of ethical values which begins with treating people with respect and demanding to be treated with respect in return.

Henry is a strong supporter of the arts programs and other programs benefiting disadvantaged children, including Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Project Harmony, Partnership 4 Kids, Northstar and Avenue Scholars.