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Davidson Institute – Timeline

1980s and Early 1990s

  • The Davidsons establish the educational software company, Davidson & Associates. Bob Davidson later joins the company full time.
  • Davidson & Associates publishes MathBlaster and ReadingBlaster, along with many other educational software titles that help students be successful learners by individualizing the pace of their education.
  • Davidson & Associates becomes a public company (NASDAQ: DAVD).

Mid to Late 1990s

  • Davidson & Associates merges with another company, and the Davidsons leave the new organization.
  • The Davidsons begin researching philanthropic areas in education to continue their passion of helping students be successful learners. They decide to focus their philanthropic efforts on helping the underserved population of profoundly gifted students (students who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement ).


  • The first pilot group of 15 Young Scholars meets at Lake Tahoe (Today, there are more than 3,000 Davidson Young Scholars).


  • The Davidsons formally establish the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 operating foundation and officially launch the Davidson Young Scholars program.
  • The mission of the Davidson Institute 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.
  • Davidson Gifted Database, a free, online database with thousands of articles and resources, becomes available to anyone with access to the Internet.


  • The inaugural Davidson Fellows Scholarship program is held in Washington, D.C. with nine award recipients.
  • The Davidson Institute begins holding annual Summits for Young Scholars.


  • The Educators Guild, a free online community for educators, is introduced.


  • Partnering with Simon & Schuster, the Davidsons, with co-author Laura Vanderkam, publish Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting our Brightest Young Minds.
  • The first annual THINK Summer Institute, a three-week academic summer camp for students (ages 13-16) to earn college credits, is held on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. Attendees state this is the first time they have been challenged academically.


  • The Nevada State Legislature passes a law allowing for the creation of a “university school for profoundly gifted pupils.”


  • The Davidson Academy, the first public school of its kind in the nation for profoundly gifted middle and high school students, opens on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.


  • The Davidson Institute introduces the Young Scholar Alumni program to help former Young Scholars to stay connected with each other and the Institute.


  • The Young Scholar Ambassador Program is established, designed to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated, mature and socially conscious Young Scholars.
  • The Davidson Academy moves into its current location in the Jot Travis Building on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.


  • The first class of eight students graduates from the Davidson Academy.


  • The first annual STARS Summer Camp program is held, a weeklong summer camp for Young Scholars between 8 and 12 years old.
  • The Davidson Academy is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (now called AdvancED).


  • The Davidson Academy announces an online high school option for the 2017-2018 academic year.


  • Davidson Academy Online school opens for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the United States and Canada.


  • Establishment of the Explore program, which offers rigorous online year-long, middle school courses for qualified applicants.
  • Celebrating 20 years of the Young Scholars program.
  • 20th annual Fellows ceremony takes place.


  • The first virtual REACH Summer Seminar program is held, a weeklong summer camp for Young Scholars between 11 and 13 years old.


  • The first in-person REACH Summer Seminar program is to be held.

See also:

  • CBS Sunday Morning (2005) – video clip about the Davidson Institute and our founders.
  • YouTube video (2006) –  video clip with the Davidsons explaining why they started the Davidson Academy.