Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
President, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Janine Davidson, Ph.D., is the president of Metropolitan State University of Denver, the state’s third-largest public university, serving more than 20,000 students in high-quality, career-oriented undergraduate and graduate academic programs.
The legend goes that while she was on campus for interviews, she went incognito to see what students, faculty and staff really thought about the University. She liked what she heard. As president, she has listed her top three priorities as 1) students, 2) students and 3) students, and has become known on campus for her relatable personality. She’s one of few university presidents who is as comfortable in board meetings as she is playing ping pong with undergraduates.
Prior to her appointment in 2017, Davidson served as the 32nd undersecretary of the United States Navy and the president’s appointed “chief management officer” for the Navy and Marine Corps. Her appointment as Navy “under” followed nearly 30 years of professional government and academic service in national-security policy and academia.
She has taught at George Mason University, Georgetown University, Davidson College and various professional military schools, and was an aviation and aerobatics flight instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Davidson began her career as an Air Force officer and cargo pilot. She was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Squadron Officer School and was the first woman to fly the Air Force’s tactical C-130.
Davidson’s honors include: HillVets Top 100 Most Influential Veterans, University of South Carolina Distinguished Alumna, Secretary of the Navy Medal for Distinguished Public Service, Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, and Girl Scouts of Colorado Woman of Distinction. She is also almost unbeatable at cornhole and a fearless dancer.
Currently, Davidson serves as a presidentially appointed commissioner for the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service and on the executive committee for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. Locally, she serves as a member of the Denver Mayor’s Education Compact, as co-chair of Denver’s “Complete Count” census committee and as a board member of the Downtown Denver Partnership, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and the Rose Community Foundation.