BBC Top 100 Honoree Speaks at Simpson University ASPIRE Alumni Luncheon

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University welcomed about 75 adult graduates of its ASPIRE program to a special luncheon March 22 that featured alumna Jenny Davidson, one of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Top 100 Most Influential and Inspiring Women of 2018.

Davidson, who graduated in 2010 with a degree in organizational leadership, shared the gripping story of her journey from an abusive childhood, through deep grief at the loss of a son, to her current role as CEO of Stand Up Placer, an internationally recognized agency that works with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

In 2015, Stand Up Placer offered 37,000 services to the community. That number grew to 111,000 in just three years. In 2015, they helped 10 victims of sex trafficking; in 2018, they helped 229 victims.

“The thing that touches me most is knowing how we help kids,” Davidson said, noting that Stand Up Placer helped 100 children in 2015 and 450 children in 2018.

“We want to encourage people who have gone through trauma, that yes, you’ve had this nightmare, this storm, but you can get through it,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to share my story to show people you can go through a hurricane but still come out the other side alive and thriving and changing the world.”

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Davidson was presented with an award for Outstanding Service to Vulnerable Populations. Redding Police Chief Roger Moore, a ’95 ASPIRE alumnus, was also honored for his professional contribution in community leadership.

Simpson President Norman Hall welcomed the alumni, inviting them to stop him in town to tell him their stories. “Adult learners who have stepped out of the momentum of life to finish their degree are some of the most heroic people I have ever met,” he said. “You are doing some of the most inspiring stuff in our city.”

Simpson University’s ASPIRE program has graduated almost 4,000 North State adults. It offers convenient evening, weekend and online classes for those wishing to complete a bachelor’s degree in as few as 12 months. Learn more at

Photos by Holly Kiker / Top: Jenny Davidson, left, CEO of Stand Up Placer, receives an award for Outstanding Service to Vulnerable Populations from Simpson University ASPIRE professor Beckie Luff.


Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding almost 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated almost 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a highly ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership.

Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements.

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