Judith Davenport was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Taylor-Allderdice High School, Davenport attended Penn State, earning her bachelor of science degree in 1961.
While earning her master of public health degree at the University of Pittsburgh, Davenport focused on low-income dental programs, and this furthered her desire to become a dentist. After completing her doctor of dental medicine degree at the University of Pittsburgh, Davenport opened her own private practice in 1979, where she continued to practice until she retired in 2000.
As a dentist, Davenport was featured in Fred Rogers’s "Going to the Dentist," as well as the video Women in Dentistry. In addition, she and her husband, Ronald Davenport, helped found the Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. in 1973. The minority-owned broadcasting company owned the former WAMO-FM, WAMO-AM, and WPGR-AM. Starting with four radio stations, now the corporation’s holdings include the American Urban Radio Network, with 400 affiliates around the country.
Since her retirement from dentistry, Davenport has remained active on a number of committees in the community. She currently serves or has served on the boards of numerous organizations, both local and national, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation. She is past chair of the Carlow University board of trustees and is also on the Washington Regional Selection Panel for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
In 2014, President Obama nominated Davenport to be a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board of directors. Some of her many awards include the Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award and Penn State's Distinguished Alumni Award.