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Our Founders

The Davidsons

After piloting a support program for 15 profoundly gifted youth and their families in 1999, former educational software entrepreneurs, the Davidsons, formally founded the Davidson Institute for Talent Development a year later. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development was founded in 2000 out of a concern that our nation’s most gifted and talented young people were largely neglected and underserved. An operating foundation, the Davidson Institute’s mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.

Bob Davidson

In 1982, the Davidsons established Davidson & Associates, the educational software company that published award-winning products such as Math Blaster™ and Reading Blaster™.

In 1989, Bob Davidson left his job as executive vice president of engineering and construction at the worldwide Parsons Corporation to become chairman and CEO of Davidson & Associates. During the next few years, Davidson & Associates formed partnerships with Fisher-Price and Simon & Schuster, and made several strategic acquisitions including Blizzard Entertainment, a small entertainment software developer, whose products Warcraft™, Starcraft™ and Diablo™ became runaway best sellers.  Under Bob’s leadership, Davidson & Associates became a publicly-traded, multi-million dollar company.

After selling Davidson & Associates in 1997, the Davidsons decided to focus on philanthropic endeavors to help young people become successful learners. While researching ways to make a positive impact, they discovered that our nation’s brightest students are arguably the most underserved and neglected in America’s educational system.

In 1999, a pilot group of 15 Young Scholars was established followed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development being created in 2000 along with the official launch of the Davidson Young Scholars program.

In 2005, they worked to pass Nevada state legislation to open a new kind of public school for profoundly gifted middle and high school students on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, called the Davidson Academy. In 2017, the Academy launched an online option to serve profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the United States.

Bob earned his juris doctorate degree from George Washington University, a master’s in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He also served as a director for both Pepperdine University and George Washington University. Bob currently serves on the advisory board of the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. In 2015, he was appointed to the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents.