The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to name the new Orange County Environmental Agriculture Center after Bonnie B. Davis, a longtime extension agent in Orange County, during its March 16 business meeting.
Davis worked with the extension service for more than four decades before retiring in 1990. She began her career during the era of segregation, but proved to be a calming influence throughout the integration of the Orange County Extension Service.
“Over the course of her career, she gave tirelessly of her time, expertise, and resources on many occasions, sacrificing time away from her family to serve the needs of Orange County families,” wrote former Orange County Extension Director Dr. Fletcher Barber, Jr., in a letter endorsing the honor. “Both during and after my tenure as Extension Director, I have heard countless positive testimonies from county residents who were beneficiaries of the educational training they received from Mrs. Davis.”
In the early part of her career, Davis led the 4-H programs for Black youth. She received numerous recognitions during and after her career and was a lifelong member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
She was an active member of the Orange County community for several years after her retirement, serving on dozens of boards and committees. Davis won the Pauli Murray Award for her service in pursuit of justice, equality and human rights for all citizens and was a founding member of the Friends of Orange County Social Services. She mentored many agents and residents who relied on her advice and wisdom.
“She was a bedrock of the community,” said Chair Renee Price.
She eventually moved to Michigan to live with her daughter. She died in 2018.
The new center is part of the county’s Northern Campus project and is scheduled to open later this year.