Distinguished Alumni Award-Derrick Davenport

Derrick Davenport & Dr. Jeffress

When your name is Derrick Davenport, it’s obvious your favorite letter would be D. Or in his case, that the words you live by start with D. In our last issue, we featured Derrick, a graduate of our culinary arts program who has gone on to an illustrious and award-winning career, leading to his current role as Executive Chef to the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.

Now Derrick has another honor to add – he received Schoolcraft’s Distinguished Alumni Award at this year’s commencement ceremony (see, we gave him another D!). At the ceremony, Derrick shared the guiding principles behind his success – as he likes to call them: The “3-Ds”.

Direction: Derrick has stayed committed to becoming the best chef he can be. For him, this started with his family’s encouragement to follow Derrick Davenporthis talent, including their willingness to serve as guinea pigs for his early culinary experiments. Getting into Schoolcraft was also critical. He notes. “I knew Schoolcraft’s Culinary Arts Program would give me the skills and training I needed to be successful.”

Drive: Derrick credits Schoolcraft’s standards of excellence for his continued ambition and focus. “Schoolcraft’s instructors are leading Master Chefs and at the top of their game,” he notes. “They expected the best from us, and I continue to work to meet their standards.” He encourages everyone to stay passionate and constantly improve their skills.

Determination: Derrick believes this is the core of being successful: Setting high goals and staying committed to achieving them. “My instructors inspired me, and gave me the belief that with hard work I could achieve any goal,” he recalls. But even for Derrick, there is one thing more important than the 3-Ds: The people in his life. As he notes, “You need to surround yourself with people who build you up. With their encouragement, you can become more than you can possibly believe. That is what Schoolcraft did for me.”


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