Shelby Davis: Dashing Towards Dividend Dominance

Shelby Davis: Dashing Towards Dividend Dominance

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Shelby Davis is a renowned American philanthropist and investor known for his immense contributions to education and the stock market. He is the founder of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, a project that provides scholarships to exceptional students nationwide. Profiting largely from investments in insurance stocks, Davis is a respected figure in the investment community. His strategies and philosophies on investment continue to inspire many in the industry.

1. Shelby Davis’s Investment Career

Shelby Davis began his successful investment career later in life. He became a full-time investor at the age of 38 and funded his investments with a mere $50,000 from his wife’s insurance policy. Davis’s primary investments were in the insurance sector, where he noticed a potential for growth and value. Specifically, his long-term investments in insurance stocks served as the backbone of his wealth accumulation.

Over the years, Davis honed his investment strategies, focusing primarily on the long-term growth potential of each investment. His philosophy was based on considering the future potential of each company rather than the short-term fluctuations of the stock market. Heavily influenced by the principles of value investing, Davis often looked for undervalued stocks with solid potential for future appreciation.

His investment prowess led to considerable success, turning his initial investment into an estimated multi-billion dollar fortune. His strategic moves earned him a highly respected position in the investment community, practising what he famously termed, “Buy, hold, and watch” investment strategy.

2. Philanthropic Endeavors

Shelby Davis didn’t limit his success to the financial world; he also firmly believed in giving back to society. His philanthropic focus was primarily on education. He saw this as a means of creating opportunities and building a better future for talented and ambitious individuals.

As an education advocate, Davis founded the Davis United World College Scholars Program. This unique scholarship program provides financial assistance to American students attending United World Colleges. The program’s goal is to promote cross-cultural understanding and global citizenship, recognizing exceptional students who show promise in these areas.

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The Davis Scholars Program is the world’s largest international scholarship program for undergraduates and has played a significant role in the lives of many students. It has contributed millions of dollars in scholarships, changing the trajectories of countless lives and continuing Davis’s legacy of supporting education.

3. Personal Life and Background

Shelby Davis was born in 1917 and lived a life centred around family, education, and investment. He hailed from a family of politicians, with his father serving as the governor of Nebraska and his grandfather severing in the U.S Senate. Despite the political lineage, Davis charted his own path, diving into the world of finance and investment.

Davis’s entrepreneurial journey was deeply influenced by his time attending Princeton University, where he developed a profound interest in finance and investment. Upon graduation, he embarked on a career in the diplomatic service, serving as a state department specialist in Switzerland and Germany.

In his personal life, Davis valued privacy, choosing to maintain a low-profile existence despite his enormous wealth and prestige. He was married to Kathryn Wasserman Davis, and they had five children together. Davis’s philosophies on investment and education have left an indelible mark not just on his family, but on communities and institutions worldwide. This legacy continues to be remembered long after his passing in 1994.


Shelby Davis was a noteworthy figure in the investment world, turning a modest investment into a multi-billion dollar fortune thanks to his sharp strategies and insights. Also, as a philanthropist, he made significant contributions to education, creating opportunities and making a profound impact on countless lives through his scholarship program.

Key Takeaways

  • Shelby Davis was a successful investor known for his philosophy of long-term value investment, particularly in the insurance sector.
  • He turned a $50,000 investment into a multi-billion dollar fortune over his investing career.
  • Davis was a remarkable philanthropist with a strong focus on education, founding the Davis United World College Scholars Program.
  • The Scholarship program has provided financial assistance to innumerable students and is recognized as the world’s largest international undergraduate scholarship program.
  • Despite Davis’s success and wealth, he maintained a private life, keeping his family and personal beliefs close to heart.
  • Related Questions

    1. What unique investment principle did Shelby Davis follow?

    Davis was a firm believer in long-term investment. He focused on the underlying value of companies, specifically searching for undervalued insurance stocks with a strong future growth potential. He lived by his “Buy, hold, and watch” investment strategy.

    2. How has the Davis United World College Scholars Program made an impact?

    The Davis Scholars Program has provided scholarships to numerous students attending United World Colleges. By doing so, it has promoted cross-cultural understanding and global citizenship, supporting the education of ambitious students from all walks of life.

    3. What influenced Davis’s success in the world of investment?

    Davis’s investment career was largely shaped by his own philosophies, focusing on value and long-term growth. His education at Princeton University also played a significant role in shaping his interest in finance and investment.

    4. How did Shelby Davis’s early career inform his later success?

    Before becoming a full-time investor, Davis served as a State Department specialist in Germany and Switzerland. This experience, along with his education, helped him formulate his unique approach to investment and build his impressive career.

    5. How has Davis’s family legacy influenced current generations?

    Shelby Davis continues to inspire not just his own family, but also numerous investors and students globally. His family continues his legacy, managing his investment firm and maintaining the scholarship program, influencing the educational opportunities for deserving students worldwide.