Jim Davis ’67, Ph.D., retiring president of Shenandoah University in Winchester,
President Lindgren presents President Davis with the Distinguished Alumnus Award
Randolph-Macon College’s Society of Alumni has awarded its Distinguished Alumnus
Award to Jim Davis ’67, Ph.D., retiring president of Shenandoah University in Winchester,
Virginia. The award was presented by R-MC president Robert Lindgren during a tribute
gala at Shenandoah University to honor Dr. and Mrs. Davis on Monday, May 5, 2008.
“It is an honor to present this distinguished award to such a worthy alumnus,” said
President Lindgren. “Jim Davis has set a standard for leadership in higher education
during his remarkable 26 years at Shenandoah–not just in Virginia, but nationally
Dr. Davis was actively engaged as a student while at R-MC. He was a member of the
varsity basketball team, the Varsity Club and Lambda Chi Alpha and was inducted
into Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. Davis also received a Trustees’ honor
scholarship for his outstanding academic achievements. He graduated in 1967 with
a bachelor’s degree in history, followed by a master’s degree in history from Virginia
Tech in 1969, and a Ph.D. in college administration from Florida State University
in 1972. Dr. Davis’ professional career began in 1968 as an assistant professor
of history at Ferrum College in Southwest Virginia. He was then promoted to associate
professor and chair of the division of social science in 1971, academic dean in
1972, and dean in 1976. Davis holds a high regard for civic responsibility and won
a special election to serve in the Virginia General Assembly’s House of Delegates
in 1978. He was re-elected in 1979 and 1981.
Dr. Davis was inaugurated as the 15th president of what was then Shenandoah College
and Conservatory on July 1, 1982. His 26-year leadership has directed the college’s
transformation into Shenandoah University, which now offers 80 programs in six schools.
The landscape has also drastically changed with the addition of numerous buildings
including the Smith Library, The Health Professions building, an athletic center
and Shentel Stadium. During his tenure, he has worked with the United Methodist
Church serving as a member of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry and as
chair of the Schools, Colleges & Universities Committee of the Division of Higher
Education from 1988-1992. He has also served as the lay leader of the Winchester
District and Chair of the Pastor Parish Committee at Braddock Street United Methodist
Church. In addition, he was elected to the membership on the highly respected Commission
of the Colleges of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for six years.
This is not the first time Randolph-Macon College has honored Dr. Davis. At R-MC’s
Commencement in 1990, Davis was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Dr. Davis was recently elected to serve on R-MC’s Board of Trustees, and his service
will begin on July 1.