Tag Archives : Detroit Pistons

What's in a name? Remembering Davidson Hall

What's in a name? Remembering Davidson Hall

One can learn quite a bit in business school. I learned quite a bit from business school. As a BBA student at the University of Michigan Business School (now Ross), I went to school each day in Davidson Hall, and each day when I passed under those words, I smiled. “Davidson” – and I always wondered how many of my classmates realized it – stood for Bill Davidson, owner of Guardian Glass, and, more importantly to me, the Detroit Pistons. Mr. D, as he was affectionately called by everyone who worked for him, died last week at age 86, saying goodbye nearly three years after the building that bore his name was torn down. His legacy, however, is one that won’t, and shouldn’t, be forgotten.

Mr. D’s building was demolished to make way for a state-of-the-art facility for the newly-named Ross School of Business just a few years ago, and to his credit, Davidson embraced the change. It was classic Davidson, to be honest – for a man who, and I say this with reverence, came across as old-fashioned, and stubborn, he was seemingly always on the forefront of change. I first came to know his work as a young fan of the Detroit Pistons; as owner, he was the first to purchase a private plane for an NBA team (which is now standard) and in 1988 built an arena still considered to be among the class of the league…and did it completely with private financing. Unlike many owners who saw their teams as hobbies, Davidson ran his as a business, and considered these luxuries to be investments in his team success.

Filed in: Business School