Education and Human Resources

Davenport University names board member

March 26, 2015
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Davenport University names board member
Paula Cunningham. Courtesy Davenport University

An experienced educator and business leader has joined the board of trustees at Davenport University.

Davenport University in Grand Rapids said this month that it has appointed Paula Cunningham, president and CEO of Lansing-based Capitol National Bank, to the role.

Cunningham is the lone new trustee appointed to Davenport’s board of trustees. Her role was effective this month.

The appointment

Cunningham will help the board of trustees at DU maintain the goals and outcomes outlined in the university’s strategic vision for 2020.

In response to the appointment, Cunningham said although she was at a point in her career where she didn’t want to participate on another board, Davenport was an exception.

“I was really honored, very much so,” Cunningham said. “Davenport is uniquely different, and I am excited about their focus on education for the future. It is just a very distinguished group of board of trustees, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Tracy Graham, chairman of the DU board of trustees, said Cunningham has proven her leadership in business, education and her community.

“We look forward to many contributions she will bring to the growth and vitality of Davenport University,” Graham said.


With a background in academia and business, Cunningham said her experience focusing on the return on investment from a financial and student-education standpoint will lend itself well to making sure Davenport moves forward and has both a community and global impact.

As president and CEO of Capitol National Bank since 2006, Cunningham was the first female, African-American president of a non-minority-owned bank in the nation and led the community-focused bank through the Great Recession.

Her experience also includes roughly 25 years serving at Lansing Community College and implementing a strategic plan, while serving as the first female president of LCC.

Cunningham was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and was featured in Ebony magazine as a “Woman on the Move.”

In the community

Cunningham has also held various community leadership positions: founding member of MiQuest Board; co-chair of the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan; chair of the board for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce; executive committee of the Michigan Nonprofit Association; and chair of the Michigan Association of United Ways. 

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