Andrew Lovedale, 2009
Authored by Anisha Dhungana ’21 in “Beyond the International Festival, the Lives of Black International Students at Davidson College“
last updated 02.10.2021
Another way that African students have impacted Davidson in an influential, but overlooked, way is their contributions in athletics, especially Davidson Basketball. The involvement of Black international students in Davidson’s athletics dates back to Benoît and Georges who, as mentioned earlier, both played for the soccer team. There are currently six international students in the men’s basketball team. The 2007-08 Elite 8 team also had six international players, including Andrew Lovedale (‘09) from Benin City, Nigeria. Pictured here, we can see Andrew in the classic Davidson red basketball uniform, sporting his number, 41, as he jumps and prepares for a shot. His eyes are concentrated on the hoop, but everyone behind him is staring at him, waiting for the ball to leave his hands. People are stretching their heads left and right trying to get the perfect view, their mouths hanging low in anticipation, and in those few seconds, Andrew has the weight of the fans, his team, his own expectations and Nigeria on his shoulders.
Andrew started playing basketball after the passing of his father, not knowing the possibilities that it would open for him, especially since he writes that in Nigeria, people who play sports are considered hooligans. Because of basketball, he was able to move to the U.K. and play for a team there while also studying. It was through that center that he met Bob McKillop who recruited him to play at Davidson College. Andrew was stunned at the amount of gear that Davidson basketball would receive, gear that would quickly be discarded at the first sight of damage. Growing up, Andrew and his friends sometimes played barefoot; therefore, witnessing the amount of shoes, like the Nike’s seen in the photo, being thrown away, he immediately wanted to use this gear for good. Since his first-year at Davidson, he started collecting the shoes that would have been discarded and donating them to kids in his hometown (Lovedale n.d.). With this act and idea, Andrew started Davidson men’s basketball’s “most expansive philanthropic work to date” (Allison 2011), continuing and advancing the history of service within athletics.
However, Andrew realized that these donations once a year was not a sustainable form of philanthropy; therefore, upon graduating, he formally founded Access to Success (A2S), a charity and community-based organization that offers educational, athletic and faith-based programs to children in Benin City. In an article in The Davidsonian covering an event in which Andrew and Dr. Ken Menkhaus (Political Science) discussed the growing importance of the non-profit sector, it describes A2S as a charity that “has empowered the people to take control of their own community” (Mauze 2013, p. 2). Furthermore, Andrew emphasizes the “’need to educate yourself about the world and its cultures’…By educating ourselves about places like Benin City, Nigeria, perhaps we can broaden our spheres of empathy and understanding” (Mauze 2013, p. 2). This call for empathy is something that all of the people highlighted in this exhibition so far have also advocated. Given their backgrounds and experiences in different countries, the people photographed have brought those understandings to Davidson and bettered not only the Davidson community, but also – especially with Andrew’s case –the global community. Andrew has kept his connections between Davidson and Benin City alive through this organization.
As A2S celebrates its 10 -year anniversary in 2020, the relationships fostered throughout Andrew’s time at Davidson have had a lasting impact on Davidson’s athletics in addition to the student body and larger Davidson community. A2S is based out of Davidson and Benin City, establishing a deep-seeded connection between the college and this mostly unknown city in Nigeria. Andrew used his awareness and experiences growing up there and took advantage of his platform at Davidson to create lasting change in both communities to work towards his dream of a world free of poverty.