Howard (Champ) W. Covington, Jr. '66
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a champion as "a winner"... "a fighter"... and "an advocate"...and in these respects, Howard W. Covington, Jr. - "Champ" to all his friends - truly epitomizes his nickname. Since the day he stepped onto the Davidson campus, and then for the years that have followed, Champ has been a force for good.
A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Champ continued his family legacy by attending Davidson. His Davidson family tree includes his father, Howard Sr., brother George, uncle William, nephews, a brother-in-law, and daughter Cameron Covington Mackie of the Class of 1992.
Champ quickly made his mark on the Davidson golf team, becoming the team captain and playing in the NCAA tournament during his senior year. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and cheered the basketball teams of the Lefty Driesell era. An English major at Davidson, Champ did wish that he paid more attention in his Investments class, but must have learned plenty since he went on to become a successful real estate developer. One of the highlights of his Davidson career, of course, was the blind date at which he met a lovely Queens College student, his future wife, Imogene.
After graduation, job opportunities took Champ and Gene to Atlanta, Georgia and then to Greenville, South Carolina, where the mayor took Champ under his wing, encouraging him to get involved with the community.
And did he ever get involved. At one point or another, Champ was a board member of the Greenville Hospital System Foundation; chair of the state transportation board that determined how hundreds of millions of dollars were spent for highway construction; chaired the local chamber of commerce; supported the local chapter of the Urban League; was recognized by Greenville County for his work to improve race relations; and founded an annual golf tournament that went on to raise millions of dollars for local charities. These are only a few of the highlights of his community engagement, above and beyond his development business. It is small wonder that a Greenville magazine in 1998 named him the Most Influential Person of the Year.
All the while, Champ generously gave his time, talent, and support to Davidson. He served as a college Trustee; helped organize the 15th, 20th, 25th and 35th Reunions for the Class of 1966; served as vice-chair, then chair, of the Annual Fund; was a member of the Board of Visitors; and also served as a member of the Parents Council. For years now, Champ has served his passion while serving Davidson as a member of the golf committee, ensuring the success of the Tom Scott golf tournament as well as the continued growth of the golf scholarship endowment.
Along the way, Champ bounced back from a heart attack, and later battled cancer. Still, he kept his trademark positive attitude. In one of the many newspaper articles about Champ, he is quoted as saying "I've been blessed to meet a lot of good people. Life gets richer."
Champ, today we say that Davidson has been blessed to meet and know you. We are richer for the experience. For your commitment to making the world a better place, your timeless energy for Davidson athletics and academics, and your boundless commitments to alma mater, the Davidson College Alumni Association is proud to recognize you with the Alumni Service Award.