Category Archives: Encyclopedia

Extracurricular Activities – Political and Social Justice Groups

Political and Social Justice Groups

Flag at half-mast during Charlotte Shootings

Colleges and universities have had a large influence on the political and social climate of the United States. At each institution, multiple groups provide forums for debate about the important issues of the day. Whether participating in the Greensboro sit-ins or the large-scale University of California at Berkeley protests of the Vietnam War, young student activists have been on the forefront of political change (Handman). Davidson College is no exception to this trend. Davidson has historically been a relatively conservative institution and in some years, the students have been more conservative than their faculty. In the mid-20th century presidential elections students preferred Eisenhower, Nixon, Goldwater and Ford.

In the 1970s, a more liberal student body began to emerge out of the New Left movement, noticeable in the growing anti-Vietnam War sentiments that larger and larger groups of students began to embrace (Blodgett 199). Students, facilitated by public interest groups, which worked from a more non-partisan angle, began to speak out more frequently on environmental and consumer-based issues. At the turn of the 21st century, liberal student activism had become an even larger part of life on campus. With the rising conflict in the Middle East, students and faculty began to speak out against the war in Iraq. This belief was afforded by groups like Just Peace, providing a safe space for peaceful discussion. Although Davidson has not been a historically activist campus, it has been involved in political movements and has been a part of nationally evolving social trends.

Republican Club

Davidson has historically been a conservative institution, greatly influenced by North Carolinian politics. Before there were partisan clubs on campus, Davidson had the Conservative Club, started in the spring of 1962 (1963 Quips and Cranks). In 1965, Davidson gained both a Young Democrats and Young Republicans Club (Wildcat Handbook). Throughout its history on campus, the Young Republicans Club has evolved. Somewhere between 1979-1984, as mentioned by Quips and Cranks during that time, the club changed its name to the College Republicans.

As a chapter of the larger national organization of the Young Republicans, the Davidson chapter mirrored much of the nation and state’s ideology during the 1960s. The purpose of the club as stated in the 1994 revision for submission for a charter renewal is as follows:

Page from the 1965 Quips and Cranks showing the Young Republicans Club

“To make known and promote the principles of the Republican Party among the students at Davidson College”

To recruit Davidson College students as members of the Davidson College Republicans and as members of the Republican Party.

To aid in the election of Republican candidates at all levels of government

To develop political skills and leadership abilities among students as preparation for future service by them to the Republican party and the community.”

The club sponsored speakers and published material regarding national and state positions taken by the party as well as printed the New Southerner, a State College Council publication. Members had other opportunities for direct engagement in politics, sending their Campaign Committee to work with the Davidson Town Republican Committee for the 1966 elections and attending the annual Convention of the North Carolina Federation of Young Republicans, as well as sending delegates to the College Council Conventions (“Come alive in ’65”). The club also reached out to the campus community through publications.

The Wildcat Republican

The Wildcat Republican was published monthly from 1965 to 1967. Its goal was to provide “articles reflecting all phases of Republican thought and Young Republican activities, which [could] be appreciated from all Republicans.” (News Notes)

First issue of the Wildcat Republican Published in 1965

Many of the topics covered in these editions dealt with the fight against Communism. In the October 1965 publication, the Young Republicans Club’s President, Harry McMullan ’68, gave his opinions on the Sharron Statement, the foundational principles for a young conservative group started in 1960 called the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). McMullan included his own revised version in this edition of the Wildcat Republican, where he stated that the government’s job was to protect freedom, whether it is “preservation of internal order, provision of national defense, or administration of justice.” In keeping with the national sentiment and the YAF, he also mentioned that “the single greatest threat to [these] liberties” was seen to be Communism.

Conservative causes were covered in each issue. In the November 1965 edition, for example, issues regarding the Right to Work Law were covered. The law stated that everyone reserved the right to join any organization he should chose and that the threat of job loss in order to force him to join a labor organization was forbidden. This edition also stated that ninety percent of the Freshman class supported this law.

Throughout its brief existence, the Wildcat Republican covered elections and provided a forum for republican thought. As an extension of Davidson’s branch of the National Young Republicans Club, the Wildcat Republican provided a window into students’ conservative perspectives in the 1960s.

Nota Bene

In 2002, another Young Republicans Club publication was released, this time titled Nota Bene. In the first issue, the editors gave the purpose as:

“Late in Arriving on Campus, Nota Bene (Latin for “note well”) aims to provide an outlet for conservative points of view. It is meant as a medium that will stimulate controversy and discussion of issues and events on the campus, local, national, and international levels. It is hoped that Nota Bene can become an adequate source of opinion that is an alternative to the prolific liberal perspectives that dominate the College community.”

Campus Republicans saw the publication as offering a corrective to the dominant liberal discourse on college campuses. To provide contrast to these new liberal sentiments, Nota Bene covered issues like birth control, foreign oil resourcing, environment, faith, and conflicts with the middle-east (Issue 1).

First edition of Nota Bene published in 2002

For example, the second issue of Nota Bene contained an article titled “Extending Dependence.” Contributing writer Max Van Amerongen ‘04 wrote that the oil we use should be domestic and that at the time our country’s dependence on foreign energy sources was creating a national threat. By taking our oil from the middle-east, he argued, we were causing an unnecessary danger to our country by increasing anti-American feelings abroad.

Nota Bene also covered environmental issues regarding oil in this same edition. With the belief that oil should be domestic, the author took a conservative stance on how this oil could be obtained. The author supported as much drilling as was necessary from the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge on the North Shore of Alaska.

As the last Young Republicans Club or College Republicans publication to date, Nota Bene was short lived. Only two editions were released over the course of two weeks in 2002. Whether the work of producing the issues proved too time-consuming or a newsletter format was not the most useful form of communication, this effort left only a brief window into student political writings. During the early years of the 21st century, the club, renamed College Republicans, has co-sponsored debates around presidential elections and while not producing newsletters, have used the opinion pages of the Davidsonian to share their concerns with the campus community.

Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

Public Interest Groups and the New Left

In many colleges, political activism grew throughout the 1960s and 70s with the liberal movement known as the New Left. This student activism was inspired in many ways by the Civil Rights Movement and radicalized by the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Student interest slightly shifted focus later in the 1970s towards issues such as consumer protection and environmentalism (New Left). Many student organizations were passionate about the interests they represented, yet they lacked the logistical set-up to make a functional difference. American political activist Ralph Nader proposed a system of Public Interest Research Groups, or PIRGs, in his book Action for a Change: A Student’s Manual for Public Interest Organizing. This system of funding and organization was meant to help students assemble and act on issues that were important to them and their fellow students (Nader 326).

Davidson College PIRG

The Davidson PIRG was a local chapter of the larger, statewide North Carolina PIRG. Founded in 1973 in several colleges and universities, the organization initially had thousands of members. Davidson was one of the first colleges to join, and the organization held its first awareness meeting on September 19, 1973 (Awareness flyer).

A Davidson PIRG brochure from the 1978-79 school year describes the group in its mission statement:

“The Davidson College Public Interest Group (DC PIRG) is a non-partisan, student directed professionally assisted organization which seeks solutions to consumer, governmental, and environmental problems through research and advocacy”

The group focused on local issues important to the students and worked to collect and provide relevant information about these issues from polling or surveys. They lobbied on behalf of the students in order to fix these problems. The Davidson College PIRG distributed media to students and people around Davidson, and on larger issues collaborated with the state organization and their professional lobbyists to work with the state or federal legislature (Awareness flyer).

Working in the Public Interest

brochure thumbnail
Davidson PIRG Brochure, 1978-79

DC PIRG worked for what they believed to be the best interest of the students at the college. The group met each year to decide on the pertinent issues at the time. In 1974, for example, DC PIRG worked on price surveys of Charlotte area pharmacies, local gas stations, and local grocery stores. They performed a study of pollution from the college laundry, and held public forums and petitions on the rising costs from Duke energy (Informational Flyer). In 1978, some main issues were prison reform, recycling and a more green-friendly campus, as well as providing the Off Campus Housing Guide for Davidson students (PIRG brochure).

The Off Campus Housing Guide was one of DC PIRG’s more successful and recognized projects. It provided information on local houses and apartments available to rent for students who wanted to live off campus. This guide contained information such as the address, rent, utilities and personal comments from students who had lived there previously, providing an inside review of the housing options that students would not have received otherwise. In the 1977 edition of the guide, DC PIRG provided comprehensive information on over 50 different properties and numerous apartments.

520 South Main typed list
Housing Guide Entry from Main Street

Funding Activism

DC PIRG was a student-run group that mainly worked to provide information and opportunities for activism to other students. Their main costs involved printing informational brochures and flyers. DC PIRG received no money from the Student Government Association, so their primary source of funding came from an optional fee that was added onto each student’s tuition bill, and in some cases small faculty donations (Letter to Faculty). This fee was originally three dollars, but in 1976-1977 DC PIRG voted to raise this to four dollars. This system of adding a small optional fee into the tuition was a common practice for PIRGs across NC and around the country.

Yet this system of early crowd funding proved to be the downfall of PIRGs in colleges. In a lawsuit involving claims that Rutgers University was making it difficult for students to obtain refunds for this PIRG fee, a U.S. Court of Appeals declared that PIRGs were not non-partisan public interest groups, but rather “a political entity devoted to the attainment of certain fixed ideological objectives” (Alms Control). This ruling made it so that PIRGs nationwide had to solicit contributions through the same process as other partisan lobbyist groups, effectively ending the activity of the PIRG on Davidson’s campus.

Just Peace

In the years leading up to the 2nd Iraq war (2003-2011), many people supported the incoming war while others tried desperately to prevent it. At Davidson, many students, like most of North Carolina and the rest of the country, were swept up in war propaganda, shown in their avid support of the war in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. North Carolina was a conservative, pro-military state, encouraging blind support for the impending war. But not everybody in the state, or on Davidson’s campus, felt the same way.

Headline: Peace Group founded to examine alternatives to war
Davidsonian headline

Just Peace is Born

Biology Professor Malcolm Campbell ‘84, opposed the war from the start and in 2002 set out to create a safe space for students, faculty, and staff to discuss their opinions about the upcoming war and the state of the nation. Campbell, along with Ruth Pittard, Assistant Dean of Community Service, did not set out to create a club, but rather a “gathering” to “design ways to open a peace-based discussion for the campus” (Campbell, Organizational).

Just Peace (previously known as “Peace-Teach In,” “Peace Group,” and “Peace Dialogues”) critiqued President George W. Bush’s military action against Iraq. The organization also pushed the boundaries of college organizations. It was an equal place for students, faculty, and staff, including the College president at the time, Robert Vagt, to have an open discussion about peace on campus.

The group met weekly for discussions about current events and “peaceful solutions to problems” (Campbell, Peace). While they began by opposing the start of the war, Just Peace kicked into full gear when war was declared on March 20, 2003, turning away from angry protests and towards peaceful activism in civil rights, race relations, and other causes.

What they Did

digitized page 2005
Just Peace Quips and Cranks page 2005

Over time, membership grew, maintaining a core of about 20 members, and the group’s weekly meetings became centered on documentaries or guest speakers, as seen in email correspondence between Campbell and the group. Just Peace became an official school group in February of 2004, when they created their own website and later Facebook page. The “Just Peacers” encouraged students to participate in various marches and protests, both in North Carolina and in Washington, D.C. As Just Peace became a larger campus presence, they started collaborating with other college groups, such as the Young Democrats and College Republicans. They hosted debates and discussions and co-sponsored dinners and more with these clubs and others. In 2007, they sponsored Eyes Wide Open, an art exhibition on the lives lost in Iraq, in the Alvarez College Union.

On its own, Just Peace screened movies and hosted discussions and often distributed flyers around campus to keep students informed and to keep difficult discussions open. In 2003, they led a Peace Club at the local Ada Jenkins Center, creating an open and educational environment for young children to learn about peaceful war alternatives through acting, song, and discussion (Ada Jenkins).

Though the group expanded to other topics, they remained focused on their founding issue, the Iraq War. They held yearly vigils around the college flagpole for the anniversary of the war, prompted discussion on campus around the lives lost on both sides of the fighting, and distributed ribbons and bracelets to commemorate war casualties.

Over the years, Just Peace hosted multiple teleconferences. The first, in 2003, was a discussion with students in Iraq about their views on the war (and the first ever teleconference between the two countries). Later that year they connected with students in Baghdad, and again in 2007. They also had a live talk with journalist Anthony Shadid in Baghdad in 2005, showing the effects of war firsthand (Anthony).

Shifting the Debate

One of Just Peace’s big projects was a 2003 publication entitled Shifting the Debate. It featured anti-war statements, poems, writings, and sketches by students and staff, and was distributed around campus and online. It was meant to keep the discussion of the war going, and to give an in-depth look into the anti-war side of the country-wide argument.

Protesting the Patriot Act

scan of article
2003 Davidsonian article on Just Peace’s work

Arguably, Just Peace’s most influential act was to lead the Town of Davidson in a protest of the Patriot Act, which was widely claimed to be unconstitutional. The group met with the Chief of Police to discuss it, and, in 2003, the town formed a subcommittee to address the issues the Act presented. A few months later, the town unanimously agreed to address these concerns, and the town issued a statement saying that they were opposed to the Act, asking the U.S. government to change it (Campbell, Town).

Decline of Just Peace

Around 2007, many Americans were calling for an end to the war, so Just Peace was no longer a small minority. Turning sentiment against the war reduced the urgency to meet, and many members ceased going to discussions. Professor Campbell, the driving force behind the group, stopped attending, but new student leaders kept it going. In 2008, emails were only sent about once a week to remind members of meetings, rather than the almost daily email discussions that the group once had. A few smaller projects were still done, but the group slowly fizzled out, paving the way for various other political and social justice groups at Davidson.

Works Cited


Blodgett, Jan, and Ralph B. Levering. One Town, Many Voices: A History of Davidson, North Carolina. Davidson, NC: Davidson Historical Society, 2012. Print.

Handman, Gary. “Media Resources Center.” UC Berkeley Library Social Activism Timeline. The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1996. Web.

Macaulay, Caroline. Half-Mast. iPhone. Davidson, NC. Sept 22, 2016.


A Guide to Off-Campus Housing. April, 1977. RG 6/14.57 Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Records 1973-1981. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Alms Control. Wall Street Journal. August 18, 1982. RG 2/115 President Spencer. North Carolina Public Interest Group (PIRG). Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Davidson PIRG Awareness flyer. 18 September, 1973. RG 6/14.57 Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Records 1973-1981. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Davidson PIRG Informational Flyer. April 9, 1974. RG 6/14.57 Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Records 1973-1981. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Davidson PIRG brochure. 1978-79. RG 6/14.57 Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Records 1973-1981. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Davis, Madeleine. “New Left.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 28 Mar. 2016. Web.

Nader, Ralph, and Donald K. Ross. Action for a Change; a Student’s Manual for Public Interest Organizing. New York: Grossman, 1971. Print.

Official Letter to Faculty. March 16, 1977. RG 6/14.57 Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Records 1973-1981. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Just Peace

Ada Jenkins Peace Club Flyer. 2003. Just Peace. RG 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives,Davidson, NC.

Anthony Shadid Flyer. 23 March 2003. Just Peace. RG 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Beaty, Mary D. A History of Davidson College. Davidson, NC: Briarpatch Press, 1988. Print.

Beshears, Erica. “From Iraq to Davidson: Students face off.” The Charlotte Observer, 13 May 2003. RG 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Just Peace Web Site and Meeting Friday. 2 October 2003. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Live conversation between Davidson College and Baghdad. 7 May 2007. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Meeting Summary. 8 August 2003. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Organizational Peace Meeting. 31 October 2002. RG6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Peace Teach-ins ride again. 10 January 2003. RG6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Re: Town Meeting Tonight. 9 September 2003.RG6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Town of Davidson Opposes USA PATRIOT Act. 11 November 2003. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. What to do next?. 4 February 2003. RG 6/14.69.Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Yearbook?. 26 February 2004. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Campbell, Malcolm. Email to Just Peace. Zogby Baghdad Talk II. 7 May 2003. RG 6/14.69.Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Goff, Julie. “Peace Group founded to examine alternatives to war.” The Davidsonian. 4 December 2002: 1.

Hahneman, Claire. Email to Just Peace. Posters. 20 March, 2003. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Jaeger, Erin. Email to Just Peace. Eyes Wide Open. 29 April 2007. 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Just Peace Flyer. 2003. Just Peace. RG 6/14.69. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Just Peace. Shifting the Debate. 9 April 2003. RG 6/14.69. Just Peace Records. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Photograph of Page for Just Peace. Quips and Cranks 2005. Davidson: Davidson College, 2005

Whigham, Ben. “Teleconference provides view of situation in Iraq.” The Davidsonian. 6 April 2005: 1.

Young Republicans

Photograph of Page for Republican Club. Quips and Cranks 1965. Davidson: Davidson College, 1965.

Quips and Cranks Davidson: Davidson College, 1979-1984. Name Change.

Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1963.

Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1965. 

“The Sharon Statement.” The Heritage Foundation. Web. 4 Nov. 2016. Available at:

Starnes, Richard D, Robert Blair Vocci. “Democratic Party.” Encyclopedia of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. 1 Jan. 2006. Web. 4 Nov. 2016. Available at:

Vocci, Robert Blair. “Republican Party.” Encyclopedia of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. 1 Jan. 2006. Web. 4. 2016. Available at:

Wildcat Handbook. Davidson: Davidson College, 1961-1962. RG 6/13.2. Wildcat Handbook Box 2 1961-1987.

Wildcat Handbook. Davidson: Davidson College, 1965-1966. RG 6/13.2. Wildcat Handbook Box 2 1961-1987.

Williams, Wiley. “Right-to-Work Law.” Encyclopedia of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. 1 Jan. 2006. Web. 4 Nov. 2016. Available at:

Young Republicans Club. Submission for Charter Renewal. 1994. RG 6/14.4. Student Government Association, Clubs and Organizations. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Wildcat Republican

“Come alive in ’65.” Wildcat Republican. Sept 1965. Issue 1. RG 6/14.59. Publications—The Wildcat Republican. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Image of the second issue of Wildcat Republican Publication. Davidson: Davidson College 1965. RG 6/14.59. Publications—The Wildcat Republican. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

McMullan, Harry. “President’s Report.” The Wildcat Republican. Oct 1965. Issue 2. RG 6/14.59. Publications—The Wildcat Republican. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

McMullan, Harry. “Right-to-Work.” Wildcat Republican. 1965-1967. Nov 1965. Issue 3. RG 6/14.59. Publications—The Wildcat Republican. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

“News Notes” Wildcat Republican. Sept 1965. Issue 1. RG 6/14.59. Publications—The Wildcat Republican. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Nota Bene

Image of the Nota Bene Publication. Davidson: Davidson College 2002.

Nota Bene. 10 Apr. 2002. Vol 1, Issue 1. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Van Amerongen, Max. “Extending Dependence.” Nota Bene. 24 Apr. 2002. Vol 1, Issue 2. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Authors: Caroline Macauley, Lucy Prothero and Ethan Steinbacher.

Cite as: Macauley, Caroline, Lucy Prothero and Ethan Steinbacher. “Extracurricular Activities – Political and Social Justice Groups.” Davidson Encyclopedia. November 2016. <>

Related Entries:

Extracurricular Activities – Activity Planning Board

Extracurricular Activities – Honorary Fraternities

Extracurricular Activities – Independents

Arts and Communications Clubs (1860s-1940s)


Extracurricular Activities – Independents

  At Davidson College during the 1960’s, there was growing concern that social life was at the mercy of the fraternities. Independents (non-fraternity members) did have teams participating in inter-fraternity sports, but remained socially separate from fraternities (Three). In response to this, Davidson encouraged students to found various organizations to diversify social opportunities on campus.… Continue Reading

Extracurricular Activities – Activity Planning Boards

The first formal student organizations on Davidson’s campus were the Philanthropic and Eumenean Literary Societies founded within months of the college’s opening. Along with providing students opportunities to debeate and practice public speaking, the literary societies helped organize events around commencements and supported the first student publications. As the 19th century turned into the 20th,… Continue Reading

Extracurricular Activities – Honorary Fraternities

History of Fraternities in America The first Greek letter society in the United States was founded in 1776 at the University of William and Mary. Called Phi Beta Kappa, the secret organization was created with the purpose of fostering brotherhood among its members (Student Involvement). This fraternity, as with most original fraternities, focused on studying… Continue Reading

Arts and Communications Clubs (1860s-1940s)

Despite Davidson College’s vigorous academic requirements, students have always found the time to engage in a wide variety of activities through clubs. From the 1870s to 1940, students created and participated in arts and communications clubs that allowed them to focus on their passions beyond academics and sports. The first non-sports related clubs were primarily… Continue Reading

Intramural Baseball 1880-1940

Toward the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century, sports grew as a popular form of out-door play and entertainment for students at Davidson College. Many new teams and activities arose with the growth of the student body from 120 students in 1888 to 650 students in 1940. College athletes entered the… Continue Reading


According to the Young Men’s Christian Association 1931 Annual Report, the  Davidson College chapter formed as, “Davidson men of past and present have poured into a ‘melting pot’ the greatest gifts of their personality, their ideas and their ideals. From this contribution has arisen that structure on our campus which we call the ‘Y’.”(Annual Report… Continue Reading

Dating at Davidson, 1880-1940s

Socializing at Home and the Importance of Commencement In the 1880s, the less than one hundred men attending Davidson College had a relatively quiet social life.  Davidson College was located in a small town, isolated by inadequate roads and surrounded by cotton fields.  As Mary Beaty explains in A History of Davidson College, “Lacking other… Continue Reading

Wall Academic Center

Dates: Built in 2015-2016. New wings scheduled to open in Fall 2016. Renovations to Martin Chemical to be completed in 2017. Quote: The first component of the plan is the renovation of the Martin Science Building and the construction of the 149,000-square-foot E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center. The space will provide a premiere, collaborative… Continue Reading

Chidsey Hall

Dates: Built 2011-2012.  Named in August 2015 Quote: “Though some plants have yet to grow in and a few brick paths are not quite finished, Davidson first new residence hall since 2000 is now open and home to 251 sophomores of the class of 2015.  With a comfortable lounge and a separate study are on… Continue Reading

1950s Student Life

In the winter of 1952, a lion cub ran through Davidson’s manicured campus. Sigma Alpha Epsilon ordered their pledges to capture the lion cub. Of the 277 freshmen men, nearly eighty percent pledged, and, of those, 80 percent were the fourteen SAE pledges searching the grounds for a lion cub. These antics were part of… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt : 2000-2015

William Holt Terry By The Decades: 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2015 Having settled firmly into retirement, Rev. Will Terry continued to devote his time and energy to the things he loved best. According to general consensus, the majority of that energy went into the Terry Scholarship and Fellowship Program. Dr. Leland Park, ‘63, states… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt: 1990-1999

William Holt Terry By the Decades: 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2015 As Davidson College entered the ‘90s, the accumulation of changes over the previous four decades were bearing down on it full-force. Will Terry had adjusted to these changes on a personal and institutional level, but new opportunities and corresponding challenges just kept coming.… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt

(b. 1932 d. 2015) Reverend William Holt Terry, ‘54, D.D., was thirty-eight when he became the Dean of Students at Davidson College in 1970, the role in which he is best remembered. Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Terry earned his B.S. degree from Davidson College and his Master of Ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary of… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt: 1970-1979

William Holt Terry By the Decades: 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2015 In the summer of 1970, President Sam Spencer, ‘40, offered the position of Dean of Students to Rev. Will Terry. [1] This was preceded by tension between Will and some members of his congregation. Dr. John Kuykendall, ’59, revisits one source of conflict:… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt: 1960-1969

William Holt Terry By the Decades: 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2015 Having completed his education for the time being, Rev. Will Terry presided over Acme Presbyterian Church in Riegelwood, North Carolina from 1958 to 1962. [1,2] In his last year at Acme, he received a visit from his Davidson friends, Missy and John Kuykendall,… Continue Reading

Terry, William Holt: 1950-1959

William Holt Terry By the Decades: 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2015 William Holt Terry was born on July 25th, 1932, in Erwin, North Carolina. “His mother was a teacher,” says Will’s best friend, Sue Ross. [1] As she explains, “he grew up in the Methodist church” as a child with a lot of personality.… Continue Reading

Alumni Association Awards

The Davidson College Alumni Association gives out 4 awards in recognition of the service and accomplishments of former Davidsonians. To see lists of the awards and the citations for the winners, use the link below. Alumni Awards Database The awards are: The Alumni Service Award, first given in 1973, recognizes those who have given a… Continue Reading

Sandifer, Myron G.

Myron G. Sandifer, Jr., Class of 1943, holds the distinction of being the only student to be class valedictorian and student body president. Myron grew up in the small hamlet of Lowrys, South Carolina (population of about 100). He came to Davidson in the fall of 1939, after graduating from Chester High School. A chemistry… Continue Reading

Educational Studies Department

Education courses have been taught at Davidson College since 1914. At that time, only once course was taught by Professor Currie. Replaced by Dr. Hood, a professor of psychology and education, Dr. Hood was the only education professor until the education and psychology departments were each growing popular enough to have their own professors. In… Continue Reading

Anthropology Department

Anthropology began at Davidson College as an Introductory Anthropology class offered by the Sociology Department in 1950. This course was the only anthropology course offered until 1971 when other departments such as South East Asian studies began offering anthropology-based courses. In 1978, students were offered the opportunity to major in Sociology and Anthropology (one major).… Continue Reading

German Studies Department

German has been offered at Davidson since 1874. At that time, depending on the finances, Davidson offered classes from either one or two language departments, and in 1874, Davidson College offered classes from both the Greek and German Department and Latin and French Department. In that year, William Myron Thornton was the professor of Greek… Continue Reading

French & Francophone Studies Department

In 1860, native Frenchman Rev. Stephen Frontis began teaching French language to a student as an elective course. This was the first time that a student at Davidson had taken any language that was not classical in nature. Mr. Frontis was not, however, an elected faculty member of the trustees. By June 1874, there was… Continue Reading

Hispanic Studies Department

Davidson College has offered Spanish courses since 1917, while Greek, German, French, and Latin were offered before. Only one elementary-level course was taught at the time by Dr. Grey, and by 1920, two Spanish courses were offered: elementary and intermediate. By 1921, Davidson students started a Spanish club, and 247 Davidson students were enrolled in… Continue Reading

Russian Department

Russian classes were first offered at Davidson in 1989 with classes in language, culture, and literature while Russian was offered as a self-instructional language since 1984. Ms. Bonnie Marshall was the first Davidson professor to teach Russian. Russian classes were listed under the German/Russian Department (and for a brief time, the German/Russian/Japanese Department) until Russian… Continue Reading

Quillen, Carol

Carol Quillen began her tenure as Davidson’s 18th president on August 1, 2011, and was officially inaugurated on October 18, 2011. Quillen has the distinction of being the first female president of Davidson College, and is the first president since 1958 who is not a Davidson alumnus. Quillen grew up in New Castle, Delaware, a… Continue Reading

War Casualties

World War I Edgar B. Anderson ’15 Joseph Sidney Bachman ’18 Samuel Chandler Baker ’86 Pressley Robinson Brown ’06 Thomas McNeill Bulla ’07 Reid Davis Cranford ”19 James McCants Douglas ’10 Samuel Chalmers Hart ’12 Joseph Sidney Bachman ’18 Samuel Chandler Baker ’86 Pressley Robinson Brown ’06 Thomas McNeill Bulla ’07 Reid Davis Cranford ”19… Continue Reading

English Department

When Davidson College was founded in 1837, English was not a formal part of the curriculum. In 1855, the college created a professorship in Belles Lettres with a focus on composition rather than the teaching of literature. Victor Barringer was elected the first Troy Professor of Belle Lettres in 1860 but  soon went on leave… Continue Reading

Scripts ‘N Pranks

After The Yowl was retired, most of the editorial staff remained to produce Scripts ‘N Pranks, a magazine devoted to “literature (scripts) and humor (pranks).”  The first issue was produced in November of 1936. It was a quarterly magazine until the fall of 1958, when it began publishing three times a year.  In the early… Continue Reading

Masters Degree at Davidson

Origins In August 1854, the trustees officially proclaimed that “Any student graduating at this Institution having been engaged in literary pursuits for three years, and of good moral character, shall be entitled to the degree of A.M” (Beaty 181). The A.M degree, which Davidson had been awarding to distinguished alumni since 1846, was a means… Continue Reading

Junior Speaking

The Junior and Senior Speaking exercises grew out of commencement activities, when representatives of the two literary societies would present orations as part of the ceremonies. Members of the junior class would give a series of orations, punctuated by musical performances on topics ranging from “Liberty vs. License” to “The Preservation of Democracy” and from… Continue Reading

Maxwell Chambers Day

As a component of the 19th century curriculum, Davidson seniors were required to give orations before the faculty and students. In 1890, the occasion of Senior speaking was expanded, the Davidson Monthly recounts, to make “the occasion of the Senior Speaking a holiday, and invitations are to be sent out as for commencement.” The occasion… Continue Reading


First published in February 1996, Libertas is a student-run publication for Davidson, “conceived by students in response to the recognizable gap that lies between The Davidsonian and Hobart Park” to further the dissemination of the wide ranges of ideas, beliefs and values of the Davidson College community. It is further intended, according to the statement… Continue Reading

Hobart Park

According to a 1960 Davidsonian article, from 1925-1960 Mr. Don Hobart “served Davidson as the college supervisor of buildings and grounds, in a labor of love which made Davidson’s campus a showplace the year ’round. When he came to the campus in 1925, Davidson was a place of muddy roads, sparse and unkempt grass and… Continue Reading

Hobart Park (magazine)

A literary magazine started in December 1978, Hobart Park was originally published three times a year by students, but it is now published in the spring of each year.  The contributors are mostly students, but a few professors have also contributed.  The magazine consists of original fiction, non-fiction, poetry and photography by student and faculty… Continue Reading


In its earliest days, Davidson College established a manual labor system required of all students to promote health and prevent idleness among the students. In order to facilitate this manual labor system, the Concord Presbytery determined that “A manual labor system called for someone to oversee the labor–a farmer, in fact, who could work with… Continue Reading

Court of Control

In 1923, “On Saturday April 7th, the student body of Davidson College voted unanimously to abolish every form of hazing that had existed in the college, and to leave to a body of eight men the important task of supervising the Freshmen.”  This body, consisting of four seniors, two juniors, and two sophomore, all appointed… Continue Reading


WALT 1610 AM, the Davidson College Student run and operated Radio Station, was founded in 1986. It’s constitution states that “WALT. will act not only as an opportunity for interested students seeking involvement in radio, but will also serve as an alternative form of radio that is unavailable in this area. WALT. will also serve… Continue Reading

Statement of Purpose

As early as February 1960, then President D. Grier Martin began envisioning a statement of purpose for Davidson College. Within the course of the next two years, Martin’s idea began to take shape, as a “Committee on Purpose” was formed in January 1962. As David Wheeler explained, “these men sought not only to grasp the… Continue Reading

Encyclopedie (Diderot)

One of the most interesting, valuable, and mysterious holdings in the Smith Rare Book Room is a first edition of the 35 volume Encyclopedie; ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences des arts et des metiers, published between 1751 and 1788 in Paris by Denis Diderot, writer and philosopher of the Enlightenment. Davidson owns one of the… Continue Reading

Economics Department

Although Economic courses appear in the original curriculum and have been taught continuously at Davidson College, they did not appear as separate “Department of Instruction” until the 1920s. In fact, for the first fifty years of Davidson’s history, the economics curriculum consisted of a single course on the “Political Economy,” which applied “moral philosophy” to… Continue Reading

Humanities Program

The Humanities Program is an uniquely Davidson program, which strikes at the core of the liberal arts tradition. From it’s origins in 1962, the Humanities program is a four semester interdisciplinary program designed to introduce students to the historical, religious, literary, economic, philosophical, and political forces which have combined to shape Western Civilization. This is… Continue Reading

Junior Year Abroad

According to a 1968-1969 brochure, “A year of study in a foreign country, confronting the student with new combinations of old ideas and opening his intellect to the possibilities for the development of new ideas, is an invaluable adjunct to any college program. This is particularly true for Davidson, which has as its goal the… Continue Reading

Kelley Program in Historical Studies

The Kendrick K. Kelley Program in Historical Studies is Davidson’s unique honors program for history majors, and encompasses multiple components all designed to foster the study of history. The program, named for and endowed by the family of Ken Kelley, class of 1963, an honors history major and Charles A. Dana Scholar, intended to serve… Continue Reading

Little, Edward Herman

The fifth of 12 children born to George W. and Ella Howie Little, Edward Herman Little1 was born April 10th, 1881, in Long Creek North Carolina. As a child, he worked on his parents’ farm (Powell 72). As a young teenager, in the 1890s, he would take his older brother, Charles Little, who was studying… Continue Reading

Little Library

           Planning and Layout In 1964, about 20 years after the “bucket brigade” to and the dedication of the Grey Memorial Library, D. Grier Martin, president of Davidson College from 1958 to 1968, began formulating plans for a new, modern library, with an initial estimated cost of $2.2 million and a… Continue Reading

Shaw, Cornelia

  Ms. Cornelia Shaw   In 1907, three years before the move from the Union Library to the new Carnegie building, Davidson hired the college’s first full-time librarian, Cornelia Shaw. Shaw served as both librarian and registrar from 1907 until 1921, then remained exclusively as librarian until her retirement in 1936. Shaw acted as library… Continue Reading

Grey Library

Beginnings: The Grey Legacy To house the school’s expanding book collection, Davidson College moved from the Carnegie Library to the Hugh A. and Jane Parks Grey Memorial Library in the fall of 1941. Captain James Park Grey ’85 anonymously donated $150,000 for the construction of a new library in 1940 (McKnight). When his donation was… Continue Reading

Union Library

Davidson’s Beginnings In 1837 the Concord Presbytery founded Davidson College. These elders and pastors of the local area churches yearned to “bring the benefits of education within the reach of the poor boys of the community” (Shaw 11). Classes were predominately recitations in which students had to memorize and recite assigned readings regularly. Professors trusted… Continue Reading

Carnegie Library of Davidson College

  Founded in 1910, the Davidson College Carnegie Library was named for the U.S. philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who made a substantial donation towards the building. This building served as the library from 1910 to 1941. During this time, Davidson hired its first full-time librarian, Ms. Cornelia Shaw. Origins The Davidson Carnegie Library was one of… Continue Reading

Beaver Dam

Built in 1829, Beaver Dam is a younger cousin to the Piedmont’s more famous plantations, Rural Hill (1788) and Latta Place (1800). The second story house built on the site, this two-story, Federal style house was home to Major William Lee Davidson, II and his wife, Betsy Lee Davidson. Major John Davidson, Betsy’s father, also… Continue Reading

Phonathon (SGA)

In fiscal year 2009-2010, the alumni giving rate of Davidson College exceeded that of any other college or university. [Boraks] However, Davidson used to lag behind in alumni participation. Once the Davidson community, including the administration, alumni and students, began working together, alumni giving increased from 23% to 61% between 1980 and 2010. In the… Continue Reading

Dinner at Davidson & Big Talk (SGA)

SGA has retained its historical role in addressing social concerns and raising money in order to create a better environment for Davidson students in the present and in the future. While SGA is not focused on being engaged in direct service, it has developed ways for students to become involved in bettering the Davidson community.… Continue Reading

Student Government Association and Service

Since the election of the first student body president in 1896 and the creation of student government in 1909, the role of the Student Government Association (SGA) has varied depending upon the needs of the student body.  The SGA addressed honor code violations until the creation of Honor Council in 1959. From 1959 on, the… Continue Reading

Solidarity Committee (SGA)

When the Ku Klux Klan staged a march through the middle of the Town of Davidson in 1986, the stores in town shut down and the students gathered together in a day of food and fun on the grass between Vail Commons and Fraternity Row.  This first gathering was known as the “Solidarity Gathering” as… Continue Reading

Patterson Court and Service

1980s: Patterson Court and the Push for More Service The campus climate changed after its integration in 1962 and admittance of women in 1972. These students searched for their place on Davidson’s campus accompanied by societal and campus issues that could not be ignored. The Y Student Service Corps and Alpha Phi Omega, a national… Continue Reading

Service Learning

Introduction | Origins of Service Learning Service Learning in the Classroom | The Expansion of Community-based Courses, 2005-2011 Introduction Service learning as a pedagogy has become increasingly important to Davidson College. As defined by Dr. Annie Ingram, Davidson’s Thomson Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of English, “service learning encourages students to draw connections between… Continue Reading

Center for Civic Engagement

Introduction Ever since the establishment of a campus Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A) chapter in 1879, service has been a fundamental pillar of Davidson College’s identity. The college’s Statement of Purpose clearly elucidates this devotion to inspire service, not only within the confines of the college, but throughout the greater community: “The primary purpose of… Continue Reading

Men’s Basketball and Service

Davidson’s men’s basketball team has been engaged with the broader community since 1907, when Davidson basketball began. Yet, the lack of historical records suggests that formal engagement between the players and townspeople was rare. In the 1950’s, for example, the interface between the fans and townspeople was limited to talking to them before and after… Continue Reading

Athletics and Community Service

Situated in the small town of Davidson, North Carolina, Davidson College has always had a strong relationship with its surrounding community.  Athletic events are one way that the town of Davidson and the college have been brought together over the years.  Whether by attending games or donating money, Davidson townspeople have gone out of their… Continue Reading

Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student-Athlete Advisory Council

At Davidson, the onus of organizing and contributing to community service is, for the most part, on the students. As a result, it is not surprising that over the years there have been a number of successful student-lead groups on campus that have created opportunities for participation in and have spread the awareness of service… Continue Reading

Women’s Athletics and Service

Community service has always been an important part of the women’s athletic program at Davidson, but recently, two teams have increased their service by becoming involved in the fight against breast cancer.  In 2007, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association introduced Think Pink – a national fundraising effort held to raise breast cancer awareness.  Kay Yow,… Continue Reading

Alternative Gift Market (Chaplain’s Office)

“Ahhh… Christmas. A bountiful time of food, family, brightly decorated trees with presents piled around them, warm cider, cookies, and water buffaloes.” Letitia Campbell, The Davidsonian, 1993 Since 1993, Davidson College has hosted an Alternative Gift Market during the Christmas season. Rather than buying material gifts, students who buy from the Alternative Gift Market provide… Continue Reading

Journey to Nicaragua

“And we, as part of the body of Christ, went to Nicaragua to meet another part of the body of Christ, so upon returning, we could share their story, understanding a little more, altering our lives so that we may live to honor their reality.” (Quotes from Chaplain’s Office 2001-2002) Since 1999, the Chaplain’s Office… Continue Reading

Chaplain’s Office

Located on the 4th floor of the Alvarez College Union in 2011, the Chaplain’s Office exists to address a broad range of spiritual needs. The Office began in 1951as a place to nurture the faith of Christian students, but it has since broadened its mission and now aims to serve students from all spiritual and… Continue Reading

Davidson College Presidential Portraits

Reverend Robert Hall Morrison Reverend Samuel Williamson Reverend Drury Lacy Reverend John Lycan Kirkpatrick Reverend George Wilson McPhail Reverend Andrew Dousa Hepburn Reverend Luther McKinnon Reverend John Bunyan Shearer Professor Henry Louis Smith Professor William Joseph Martin, Jr. Reverend Walter Lee Lingle Dr. John Rood Cunningham   David Grier Martin Dr. Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr.… Continue Reading

Newell (Samuel W.) Building

Dates: Built in 2002-2003 to house WDAV radio station. Quote: WDAV on Main Street…” I like the sound of that. It suggests that classical music belongs not just in the concert hall or in the parlor, but in the midst of the daily life of the community. Kim Hodgson. “WDAV on Main Street .” WDAV… Continue Reading

Oak Row

Dates: Built in 1836-37 as dormitory. Fraternity meeting room, 1916-1928, Office of student publications and other organizations, 1928-1950, Music Department Offices, 1950-1969, Art Department Offices and Music practice rooms, 1969-1993, Music practice rooms 1993 to present. Quote: The rows apparently continued as dormitories until 1916 when the fraternities were moved out of Chambers and give… Continue Reading

Ovens Union

Dates: Built 1916-1917 as Alumni Gymnasium. Remodeled as Ovens Student Union in 1952 and expanded in 1963. Demolished in 1972 to make way for E.H. Little Library. Quote: The gift from the Alumni to the College is being realized. It is going to be an attractive and well apportioned building, and is ideally located on… Continue Reading

Patterson Court

Dates: First 12 houses constructed in 1958. Some buildings moved in 1981. Turner House constructed 1999. Quote: Each of the fraternities will have a separate house, and are scheduled for use in the fall of 1958. “We hope that the new court,” he [D. Grier Martin] said, “will be as pioneering and modern in the… Continue Reading

President’s House

    Dates: Built in 1836-37. Remodeled in 1860, 1884, 1941, 1959, 1998. Quote: There was agood deal of sentiment (or lack of it) amongst the trustees that the old house should be razed and a more elaborate one be erected for President F. Grier Martin. This, however, was not the wish of President Martin… Continue Reading

Philanthropic Hall

Dates: Built in 1850. Restored in 1956. Placed on National Historic Register in 1972. Named Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Site in 1976. Quote: Philanthropic Hall is one of the primary landmarks of the Davidson College campus. Built by a society that played a dominant role in the college from its founding, the structure has been used… Continue Reading

Preyer Infirmary

Dates: Built in 1938. Converted to administrative offices in 1992. Quote: With the opening of Davidson’s new $25,000 Infirmary the first step toward the building of the ideal Davidson campus has been completed. This beautiful brick structure stands on the Concord Road just off the Charlotte highway facing the Martin Chemical Laboratory. It is built… Continue Reading

Richardson Hall

Dates: Built in 1960. Dedicated May 26, 1962. Quote: Robert A. Currie, College Business Manager, recently released details of the construction of Davidson’s new dormitory. The building will be composed of sixty-two, two man rooms with a large lounge at the main entrance to the first floor. . . . Each room will be 14… Continue Reading

Rumple Dormitory

Dates: Built in 1903. Demolished in 1955 Quote: The erection and furnishing of this building mark the beginning of a new era of comfort and convenience in student life at Davidson. Although the exterior is almost severely plain, no expense has been spared to make the building a model in light, ventilation, and comfort. A… Continue Reading

Sloan Music Center

Dates: Built as library in 1941. Dedicated May 1, 1942. West wing added in 1958. Remodeled as College Union in 1975. Remodeled in 2002 as the Sloan Music Center. Quote: Why is the 900 Room called the 900 Room? Director of the Union William Brown says that, “In the days when this building was a… Continue Reading

Sentelle Hall

Dates: Built in 1922-23. Remodeled in 1971. Quote: As has been stated, the new dormitories will be modern in every respect. There will be a lavatory room on each floor. Ample shower baths are provided in the basement. Closets ample for all needs are provided in each room. Many applications are being made for rooms… Continue Reading

Shearer Hall

  Dates: Built in 1837-38. Remodeled and named Shearer Hall in 1901. Demolished in 1960. Quote: In 1901, President Shearer, known to the students as “Old Puss” decided he wanted a building named for his wife. so he pulled down an original professor’s house (known as Tammany Hall) and added the east wing to the… Continue Reading

Sparrow’s Nest

Dates: Built in 1840s. Boarding house 1915 into 1920s. Acquired by College in 1908. Remodeled in 1961, 1974. Campus Security office 1974-1990. Physical Plant office 1990-1999. Quote: This little house, which stands next to the college laundry, was built before the Civil War to house servants for the “Sparrow’s Nest.” A certain Mr. Sparrow, one… Continue Reading

Smith House

Dates: Built in 1897 as faculty house. Used as administrative offices in 1960s. Student dormitory 1972-1992. Remodeled as offices for College Relations in 1992. Quote: . . . on the northernmost edge of college property just south of Glasgow Street, was the site chosen in 1896 for what Prof. Henry Louis Smith wanted, “a home… Continue Reading

Steward’s Hall

Dates: Built in 1836-37. Demolished in 1909. Quote: The first non-residential building erected on the old quadrangle was the Steward’s Hall (completed a year before the chapel) at which all students were required to eat. They furnished much of the food themselves because in those early days of self-help students worked (in accordance with ages… Continue Reading

Stowe Tennis House

Dates: Built in 1968. Quote: The small building was erected immediately to the northwest of the varsity tennis courts which are northeast of Johnston gymnasium, and was designed by Grover C. Meetze, Jr., director of physical plant to blend with the prevailing campus architecture.Daivdson College Bulletin. May 1968 Named for: Robert Lee Stowe, Jr., class… Continue Reading

Watson Life Sciences

Dates: Built in 1998. Dedicated October 1, 1998. Quote: The college has just completed construction on the $13-million, 42,000-square-foot Watson Life Sciences Building. It is linked by the Blanche Knox Parker Garden and covered walkways to the existing Dana Science Building, and the two structures together form the Baker-Watt Science Complex. . . .The project… Continue Reading

Belk (Katherine and Tom) Visual Arts Center

Dates: Built in 1992-93. Dedicated October 8, 1993. Named September 25, 1998. Quote: The exterior matches the predominant look of campus buildings, red brick with precast trim. Gunn and his colleagues modeled their building on two of Davidson’s oldest and most distinguished buildings, Eumenaean Hall (built in 1849) and Philanthropic Hall (built in 1850). The… Continue Reading

Tomlinson Hall

Dates: Built in 2000 on the site of Lingle Manor. Dedicated as Tomlinson Hall, October 9, 2003 Quote:“RLO Staff expect the new dormitory to have a profound impact on Davidson. ‘The new dorm will shift perception of what constitutes the residential area on campus,” says [Kurt] Holmes.” “Davidson constructs new residence hall” Davidsonian, February 17,… Continue Reading

Vail Commons

Dates: Built in 1980-81. Dedicated November 7, 1981 Quote: The interior of the Commons will be the most dramatic on campus. Seating has been broken up by diagonally-crossing walkways, and lighting canopies will be suspended from the high two-story ceiling over most of the dining areas. A triangular mezzanine will be also allow seating on… Continue Reading

West Hall

Dates: Built in 2000 on the site of Lingle Manor. Quote:&quotRLO Staff expect the new dormitory to have a profound impact on Davidson. ‘The new dorm will shift perception of what constitutes the residential area on campus,” says [Kurt] Holmes.” “Davidson constructs new residence hall” Davidsonian, February 17, 2000. Return to Campus Building List Continue Reading

Watts Hall

Dates: Built in 1906. Burned and rebuilt 1923. Quote: Of great interest to the students, perhaps, is the replacing of Watts Dormitory by a new and complete building, with accommodations for 100 students, twice as many as were provided by the dormitory that was destroyed on February 25th. The Board authorize Dr. Martin and the… Continue Reading

ITS User Services Building

Dates: Built as Post Office in 1957. Remodeled in 1984. Quote: Both the College and community will use a new $55,000 post office being constructed alongside old Carolina Inn on Main Street. The one-story, neo-classical building, leased to the Post Office Department for 20 years, is so designed to make it adaptable to institutional purposes… Continue Reading

Baker Sports Complex

Dates: Knobloch Tennis Center built in 1985. Baker Sports Complex dedicated November 11, 1989. Charles A. Cannon Pool dedicated January 25, 1992. Vance Athletic Center addition completed in 2015. Quote: The Baker Sports Complex consists of four major areas: The Louise and Carl Knobloch Tennis Center, The Belk Basketball Arena, The Cannon Pool, and The… Continue Reading


Dates: Probably built in the summer of 1920. Demolished in 1945. Plaque commemorating given in 1992. Quote: Mr. Jackson says “they” are cottages; the “Hill” has dubbed them “Barracks.” Whatever might be their real name — those new dormitories are pretty nifty. “Campussisms.” Davidsonian. 17 September 1920, p. 8. Return to Campus Building List Continue Reading

Belk Hall

Dates: Construction began in 1953. Building dedicated on October 15, 1955. Small fire during renovations in 1971. Bell tower removed for renovations in 1998. Quote: Davidson College has a particular place in its heart and history for Mr. Belk. He became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1929, and was Senior Trustee at… Continue Reading

Blackwell Alumni House

Dates: Built in 1914 as faculty residence. Student residence, 1980-1985. Women’s Center 1980-1982. Remodeled in 1986 as Alumni Office. Remodeled and renamed in honor of long-time employee Nancy Overcash Blackwell in 2000. Quote: The College built this Main Street house in 1914 for Professor Joseph M. McConnell, who would later serve as Davidson’s first academic… Continue Reading

Cannon Dormitory

  Dates: Built in 1923 as West Dormitory. Renovated in 1956-1957 and renamed J. Archie Cannon Hall. Dedicated along with E.H. Little Hall on November 1, 1957. Housed women students for the first time in 1977. Quote: The new dormitory will be modeled along the latest designs for college buildings and will differ somewhat from… Continue Reading

Carolina Inn

Dates: First constructed as a store in 1848. Purchased in 1855 by Hanson Pinkney Helper and remodeled into a thirteen room hotel. Purchased around 1901 by the Sloan family and operated as a boarding house and weekend rooming house for visiting college girls. Purchased by the college in 1946. Used in the 1950s and 1960s… Continue Reading

Grey College Union

Dates: Built as library in 1941. Dedicated May 1, 1942. West wing added in 1958. Remodeled as College Union in 1975. Quote: Why is the 900 Room called the 900 Room? Director of the Union William Brown says that, “In the days when this building was a library, the floor that is now the balcony… Continue Reading

Chambers Building – Old

The Old Chambers Building before and after the fire. Dates: The cornerstone was laid in 1858 and the building was completed in 1860. It burned down on November 21, 1921. The columns remained standing until 1929. Quotes: The whole College Building looks as if the projectors remembered that they were building for a century and… Continue Reading

Cunningham Theatre Center

Dates: Built in 1961 and dedicated as Cunningham Fine Arts Building on October 29, 1961. After a thorough remodeling, in fall 2009, the building was rededicated as the Cunningham Theatre Center. The Cunningham Theatre Center houses the Rupert T. Barber Theatre as the performance centerpiece of the building. Quote: The center is truly unique and… Continue Reading

Chambers Building – New

Dates: Began construction in 1924. South wing building completed in 1925. Cornerstone laid for remainder of building 29 May 1928. Building completed 1929 and dedicated on June 3, 1930. 1966-1967 building renovated. Quote: In the early morning November 28, 1921 Old Chambers burned to the ground. Despite the erroneous idea, which was rather widespread, that… Continue Reading

Dana Science Laboratory

Dates: Groundbreaking October 2, 1958. Dedication April 7, 1960. Third floor renovated at the Porter Natural History Museum. Building renovated 1974. Building renovated 1999. In 1998, the Watson Life Sciences Building was constructed. Jointly Dana and Watson make up the Baker-Watt Science Complex. Quote: The new building, which will be architecturally harmonious with other structures… Continue Reading

Elm Row

Dates: Elm Row was built in 1836-1837 as a dormitory to house 16 students. Two roomswere remodeled in 1885 to serve as an infirmary. In the 1890s, rooms were used by fraternities. In the 1940s, Elm Row housed the Davidsonian LINK offices and in the 1950s, the Music Department. Elm Row was moved from its… Continue Reading

Erwin Lodge

Dates: Built in 1945-46 as a memorial to two brothers killed in WWII. Quote: “Erwin Lodge has been built because it is the one memorial, and the most ideal one, which could be decided upon to fit both the late Erwin brothers’ interests and personalities. Phifer found his sphere of interest in the scientific field,… Continue Reading

Eumenean Hall

Dates: Built in 1849 and dedicated in November 1849. Restored in 1956. Placed on National Historic Register in 1972. Named Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Site in 1976. Quote: Specifications and Contract for building a Society Hall at Davidson College Mecklenburg County N.C. House to be fifty seven feet long and thirty two wide; lower story two… Continue Reading

Davidson College Presbyterian Church

The Davidson College Presbyterian Church, originally constructed in 1885 (left) was razed in 1950 to make way for the present building (right) completed in 1952. Dates: Brick building constructed in 1885. Building remodeled in 1903-1904. Building enlarged in 1923. Building demolished in 1950. Present building constructed 1950 to 1952. Building dedicated on June 1, 1952.… Continue Reading

Georgia Dormitory

Dates: Built in 1909. Demolished in 1956. Quote: At the time of its [Georgia’s] construction, Rumple and Watts were the only suitable dormitories on the campus and were entirely inadequate for the college needs. The Synod of Georgia launched a campaign and raised the money for its construction. At the time of its building it… Continue Reading

Glasgow House

Dates: Built in 1948. Remodeled as faculty and staff offices in 1988. Named Glasgow House in 1992 by Institutional Advancement staff. Quote: Last summer a four apartment dwelling was erected on College property at a cost of approximately $45,000. Three of the apartments are occupied by professors and their families, and one of them by… Continue Reading

Grey House

Dates: Built in 1850s. Acquired by College in 1859 and used as faculty housing. Professor W.R. Grey lived in the house from 1895 until his death His widow stayed on in the house until 1953. Remodeled in 1971 to serve as a dormitory for women students participating in an exchange program. Served as a dormitory… Continue Reading

Duke Dormitory

Dates: Built in 1939 Quote: This Dormitory incorporates many features new to the Davidson campus. Unlike the other dormitories, Duke has single rooms, double rooms, and suites. It has overhead lighting fixtures, wall brackets with plug-in outlets over the lavatories and baseboard outlets in every room. “Duke Is Opened At Last.” Davidsonian. 28 September 1939:1.… Continue Reading

Jackson Court

  Dates: Built in 1928. Court named in honor of F.L. Jackson in 1960 and converted to residential and office use. Quote: I am glad to reply to your inquiry about our fraternity lodges. You will understand that within these lodges we do not have dormitory facilities or eating facilities. Eleven houses are built in… Continue Reading

Harding House

Dates: Built in 1890. Acquired by College in 1960. Student housing from 1977 to 1987. Remodeled for Financial Aid Office in 1994. Quote: We recommend that the Board order the tearing down of the present “Danville House,” and the erection upon the site thereof a new residence for the use of Prof. Harding, at a… Continue Reading

Student Health Center

Dates: Built in 1880s. Kappa Alpha chapter house, 1922-1927. Acquired by College in 1946 and remodeled as student health center in 1991-92. Quote: The 1,700-square-foot Potts house, built in the 1880s and added onto in the 1920s, faces Main Street. Overcash-Demmitt Architects designed plans to add about 2,500 square feet, with an expansion in back… Continue Reading

Johnston House

Dates: Built circa 1883. Acquired by College in 1961. Student Housing, 1977-1987. Building remodeled for administrative offices in 1992. Quote: As a second grade teacher, she [Julia Johnston] was greatly beloved by all of the children. However, I hated going to her home on Saturday morning to recite the shorter catechism. Remember Davidson was a… Continue Reading

Knobloch Campus Center

Dates: Cornerstone placed November 5, 1948. Dedicated on October 22, 1949 as Charles Johnston Gymnasium. Last basketball game played in gymnasium, February 25, 1989. Remodeled into new Knobloch Campus Center 2000-2001. Alverez Student Union dedicated October 25, 2001; Duke Family Performance Hall dedicated February 23, 2002. Quote: Davidson closed Johnston Gym to college basketball in… Continue Reading

Carnegie Guest House

Dates: Built in 1910. Dedicated September 12,1910. Remodeled in 1921 to house college offices in the basement. Remodeled in 1941 as guest house and headquarters of the YMCA. Library books moved to new Grey Library Building. Student Union from 1972 to 1975. Remodeled in 1976 as Carnegie Guest House. Quote: Most things are good or… Continue Reading

Knox Hall

Dates: Groundbreaking ceremony April 24, 1980. Hall first occupied in September 1981. Quote: Director of Housing Bill Bolding said the new dorms will “pretty much take care of the housing shortage for men, but we could still use a few more rooms for women.” . . . Knox houses only men and Irwin is coed… Continue Reading

Lula Bell Houston Laundry

Dates: Built in 1919. Quote: Davidson initiated its mandatory laundry service in the 1919-1920 academic year, “for hygenic and other reasons” at a cost of $2 per month.” “The Davidson Laundry: Keeping the Student Body Clean” Davidson Journal. Spring 2003, p 20. Named for: Lula Bell Houston, laundry employee for 57 years, upon her retirement… Continue Reading

Little Hall

Dates: Built in 1956 on the site of Rumple Dormitory (1903-1955). Dedicated on November 1, 1957. Quote: As a climax to the [Commencement] exercises, Dr. Cunningham announced that a new college dormitory would bear the name of Mr. Little, who is a member of the college’s Board of Visitors and has been a leader in… Continue Reading

Lingle Manor

Dates: Built in the 1870s. Miss Lucy Jurney’s School for Boys and Girls” in the early 1880s. Purchased by Leonidas Glasgow in 1886. Purchased by Lingle Family in 1939. Given to Davidson College in 1961. Student activity center from 1962 to 1967. Art Department and Black Student Coalition building in the 1970s. Remodeled as student… Continue Reading

Morrison Hall

Dates: Built in 1890. Demolished in 1945. Quote: During its 55 years of service parts of Morrison hall have at one time or another served as a Y.M.C.A., a study hall, a gymnasium, a skating rink, a lecture hall, a dormitory, class rooms, a biological laboratory, R.O.T.C. Armory and storerooms, and more recently has housed… Continue Reading

Martin Court

Dates: Three buildings, including Hart (dedicated 1994) and Jamison Halls, were constructed in 1988. Ryburn Hall (dedicated 1994) and Flowe Hall (dedicated 1994) were constructed in 1991. A sixth “F” building was constructed in 1995. The complex of apartments was dedicated as D. Grier Martin Court on October 26, 1990. Quote: Apartment-style buildings have proven… Continue Reading

Little Library

Dates: Built in 1972-1974. Dedicated on September 27, 1974. Quote: The E. H. Little Library, planned for the future, has many links with the past. The literary societies, which had assembled the first libraries at Davidson as early as the 1830’s, were memorialized with handsome insignia at either end of the loggia. The Peter Stuart… Continue Reading

Martin Chemical Laboratory New

Martin Chemical Building 2015 Dates: Built in 1941-1944. Dedicated April 14, 1944. Remodeled in 1960. Renovated in 1978. Rededicated Martin Chemical Laboratory in 1980. Renovated in 1997. Quote: The big lecture room in the middle of the ground floor of Martin Chemistry Building looked for all the world like a low-budget poolhall in late July.… Continue Reading

Martin Chemical Laboratory Old

Dates: Built in 1899-1901. Demolished in 1940. Quote: The Science Hall is at last an assured fact. Plans for the building have been adopted by the Trustees. It is to be very complete and convenient and will contain an elegant room for the display of natural history. The building will cost $15,000, and one generous… Continue Reading

Mary Irwin Belk Hall

Dates: Groundbreaking ceremony April 24, 1980. Hall first occupied in September 1981. Quote: The new room feature a modular furniture system which allows many different room arrangements, including several types of lofts. Students build lofts by stacking their beds on any two of the other furniture pieces: the closet, bureau-and-shelf, or desk-and-shelf. Mann, Jeffrey. “Knox… Continue Reading

Hepburn, Andrew D. Presidential Portrait

Reverend Andrew Dousa Hepburn President, 1877-1885 Artist: Unknown Year Created: Unknown Caption: Rev. Andrew D. Hepburn, D.D., LL.D. Born 1830 Died 1919 President of Davidson College 1877-1885 Donated By: Unknown Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 23″x27″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Kirkpatrick, John L. – Presidential Portrait

Reverend John Lycan Kirkpatrick President, 1860-1866 Artist: Mrs. Lucie Baxter Dulin Year Created: Unknown Caption: Rev. John Lycan Kirkpatrick, D.D. President of Davidson College 1860-1866 Donated By: Rev. Thomas H. Spence, Jr. Class of 1920 Great-grandson of President Kirkpatrick Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 30″x36″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Kuykendall, John W. – Presidential Portrait

Professor John Wells Kuykendall President, 1984-1997 Artist: John Howard Sanden Year Created: 1996 Caption: John Wells Kuykendall Class of 1959 A.B., B.D., S.T.M., M.A., Ph.D. President of Davidson College 1984-1997 Donated By: Board of Trustees Davidson College Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 52″x61″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Lacy, Drury – Presidential Portrait

Reverend Drury Lacy President, 1855-1860 Artist: Mr. J. Bentz Copy of original by Mr. Garl Brown Year Created: 1900’s Caption: Rev. Drury Lacy, D.D. Born 1802 Died 1884 President of Davidson College 1855-1860 Donated By: Lacy family Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 31″x36″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Martin, D. Grier – Presidential Portrait

David Grier Martin President, 1958-1968 Artist: Mr. Charles J. Fox Year Created: 1970 Caption: David Grier Martin Treasurer of Davidson College 1951-1958 President of Davidson College 1958-1968 Donated By: Mr. Charles Myers And the Class of 1969 Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 38″x48″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Martin, , William Joseph, Jr. – Presidential Portrait

Professor William Joseph Martin, Jr. President, 1912-1929 Artist: Mr. F. C. Van Hausen Year Created: 1934 Caption: Prof. William Joseph Martin, Ph.D., M.D., LL.D. Born 1868 Died 1943 President of Davidson College 1912-1929 Donated By: Unknown Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 30″x36″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

McPhail, George W. – Presidential Portrait

Reverend George Wilson McPhail President, 1866-1871 Artist: Unknown Year Created: Unknown Caption: Rev. George Wilson McPhail, D.D., LL.D. Born 1815 Died 1871 President of Davidson College 1866-1871 Donated By: Unknown Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 29″x33″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Morrison, Robert Hall – Presidential Portrait

Reverend Robert Hall Morrison President, 1836-1840 Artist: Mrs. Laura Morrison Brown Year Created: 1891 Caption: Rev. Robert Hall Morrison, D.D. Born 1798 Died 1889 President of Davidson College 1836-1840 Donated By: Unknown Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 33″x38″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Shearer, John Bunyan – Presidential Portrait

Reverend John Bunyan Shearer President, 1888-1901 Artist: Unknown Year Created: Unknown Caption: Rev. John Bunyan Shearer, D.D., LL.D. Born 1832 Died 1919 President of Davidson College 1888-1901 Donated By: Mrs. W. C. Copeland, June 12, 1975 Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 31″x36″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Smith, Henry Louis – Presidential Portrait

Professor Henry Louis Smith President, 1901-1912 Artist: Mr. Lloyd Freeman Year Created: 1928 Caption: Prof. Henry Louis Smith, Ph.D., LL.D. Born 1862 Died 1951 President of Davidson College 1901-1912 Donated By: Mrs. L. Richardson Sister of President Smith Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 39″x45″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Lingle, Walter L. – Presidential Portrait

Reverend Walter Lee Lingle President, 1929-1941 Artist: T. Currie-Bell Year Created: 1934 Caption: Reverend Walter Lee Lingle, D.D., LL.D. Born 1868 Died 1956 President of the Board of Trustees, 1906-1929 President of Davidson College, 1929-1941 Donated By: Walter Lee Lingle Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 36″x46″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at… Continue Reading

Spencer, Samuel R. – Presidential Portrait

Professor Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr. President, 1968-1983 Artist: Mr. Robert Bruce Williams Year Created: 1982 Caption: Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr. A.B., M.A., Ph.D., LL.D. Class of 1940 President of Davidson College 1968-1983 Donated By: Board of Trustees Davidson College Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 43″x55″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Vagt, Robert Fredrick – Presidential Portrait

Robert “Bobby” Fredrick Vagt President, 1997-2007 Artist: Mr. Ned Bittenger Year Created: 2007 Caption: Robert Fredrick Vagt Class of 1969 B.A., M.Div., L.H.D., LL.D. President of Davidson College 1997-2007 Donated By: Board of Trustees Davidson College Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 38″x46″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Williamson, Samuel – Presidential Portrait

Reverend Samuel Williamson President, 1841-1854 Artist: Mr. John F. G. Mittag Year Created: 1842 Caption: Rev. Samuel Williamson, D.D. Born 1796 Died 1882President of Davidson College 1841-1854 Donated By: Philanthropic Society Davidson College Location: E.H. Little Library Dimensions: 31″x36″ Encyclopedia Entry Page created by Mark Grotjohn. Email at Continue Reading

Davidson College Campus Buildings

The Davidson College campus has changed over the years from the original collection of dormitories, houses, and Chapel gathered around the D. At the turn of the twentieth century, the campus holds more than sixty buildings. Below you will find an interactive map and a list of current and historical buildings. Click on the building… Continue Reading

Akers Hall

Dates: Built in 1984. Became first co-ed residence hall in 1995. Quote: After almost a year of heated debate, Davidson is gets its first taste of co-ed living in in sophomore housing. The first floor of Akers Residence Hall, settled beneath the trees in what is typically referred to as “Sophomore Nation,” is the site… Continue Reading

Jackson, Thomas (Stonewall)

General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (b. 1824 d. 1863) was a Civil War general in the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee. He started his career as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA where he married Eleanor Junkin the daughter of Washington College (now Washington & Lee University) president Dr. George… Continue Reading

Hill, Daniel Harvey

General Daniel Harvey “D.H” Hill (b. 1821 d. 1889) served as the Davidson College Department of Mathematics Chair from 1854-1859, where he published a textbook called Elements of Algebra in 1859. Prior to that he was also a Mathematics Professor at Washington College (now Washington & Lee University) from 1849-1854. In 1848 General Hill married… Continue Reading

Rusk Eating House – Presidents

Back to Encyclopedia Entry Know a president not listed here? Please let us know! Eating Houses – Rusk Presidents 1980-1981 Sally Neal 1981-1982 Shannon Walters 1982-1983 Sherri Lind 1983-1984 Unknown 1984-1985 Paige Marsh 1985-1986 Lisa McNeilly 1986-1987 Fran Houck 1987-1988 Gretchen Schoel 1988-1989 Eileen Keeley 1989-1990 Lisa Howe 1990-1991 Cheryl Bauerla 1991-1992 Annie Adams 1992-1993… Continue Reading


Men’s Basketball | Women’s Basketball Men’s Basketball 1909 Basketball Team (Quips & Cranks 1909) Early men’s basketball at Davidson was almost entirely student run. Before intercollegiate basketball became popular, most games occurred between students with the seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen fielding teams and competing for a school championship. In the year 1907, Davidson basketball… Continue Reading


View of Campus with tree lined paths [1920] This 65-year old oak, the largest tree on the Davidson campus, fell during an ice storm on January 20, 1978. The story of the Davidson College arboretum begins in 1855, when “a few ladies of Davidson College” proposed landscape remodeling in a letter to the Board of… Continue Reading


The original Yowl, the May 1935 issue pictured here, was published only 8 years before becoming Scripts ‘N Pranks. Created in 1930, the year after the demise of The Chameleon (the previous, student-run, literary magazine), the first issue of The Yowl appeared in November and cost only thirty-five cents per issue. In fact, the delayed… Continue Reading

Morrison Hall – YMCA

The YMCA serves more than 30 million people in over 120 countries worldwide. When most people think of the YMCA, they think of fitness, spiritual enrichment, and family fun. In fact, YMCA’s are the biggest non-profit community service organizations in the USA ( Seldom do people equate a good college education with YMCA activity; however,… Continue Reading


The first X-ray taken at Davidson College by Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer. [1896] 14-0031 In January 1896, Dr. Henry Louis Smith, a physics professor at Davidson Colllege, read about Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in an associated press bulletin. He realized that Davidson College possessed the right equipment to repeat… Continue Reading

Women’s Athletics

Division III National Women’s Tennis Champs [1984] The story of women’s athletics at Davidson begins with the 1972 formation of an intramural swim team. No large advances were made in women’s athletics until 1982, when women began to participate in Southern Conference play. However, only four sports — tennis, basketball, field hockey, and swimming —… Continue Reading

Women’s Basketball Pictures

The 1978-79 women’s basketball team plays in Johnston Gym. Donna Sherrill ’77 takes a shot over an opponent during the 1974-75 season. 1974-75 Women’s Basketball Team: Coaches Joe Duncan, Charlie Slagle and Ken Schmader; Katherine Morton, Renee Soos, Nancy Matheny, Donna Sherrill, Beth Tanner, Nora McNeill, Audrey Urbano, Bonnie Caulkins, Carol Folger, Becca Stimson, Dea… Continue Reading

Davidson, General William Lee

Davidson College was named in honor of General William Lee Davidson, a local Revolutionary War hero who died at the battle of Cowan’s Ford in 1781. His son, William Lee Davidson II, provided the initial acreage for the college. Timeline for William Lee Davidson 1740 – George Davidson, William Lee’s father, moves his family from… Continue Reading

Wilson, Woodrow

“Woodrow Wilson at Davidson” pamphlet Davidson College Bulletin (15 Dec 1933) – Woodrow Wilson and Davidson John Mallard ’18 painted this portrait of Wilson on the gable of Old Chambers when Wilson won re-election. [1916] 9-0161 Admiring Davidson as an institution devoted to Presbyterianism, moral character, and academic primacy, Joseph Ruggles Wilson deemed Davidson a… Continue Reading

Williamson, Samuel

(b.1795 d. 1882) Reverend Samuel Williamson, D.D. came to Davidson in 1839, joining the faculty as professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. Having been an outstanding scholar at the University of South Carolina and South Carolina College, Williamson became minister before accepting the Davidson professorship. Within two years of serving the college as faculty member,… Continue Reading

Wildcat – Memorabilia

Quips and Cranks cover [1926] Quips and Cranks cover page [1926] Decal [unknown] A-020c Decal [unknown] A-290 Decal [unknown] A-022b Decal [unknown] A-022a Pamphlet for a Wildcat painting by Ralph J. McDonald Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File Decal [unknown] A-029d Decal [unknown] A-288 Decal [unknown] A-024 Decal [unknown] A-025 Decal [2010] Back to Encyclopedia Entry Continue Reading

Wildcat – Logos by Decade

1920s 1920 Quips and Cranks p136 1930s 1932 Quips and Cranks p143 1940s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 1950s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 1960s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 1970s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 1980s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 1990s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File 2010s Wildcat Mascot Davidsoniana File Back to Encyclopedia Entry Continue Reading

Wildcat – Costume

The Wildcat helps the cheerleaders rally the crowd at Richardson Stadium. [unknown] 4-0180 The Wildcat greets children at Richardson Stadium. [circa 1960-70s] 4-0187 The Wildcat and cheerleading squad. [1969] 4-0801 The Wildcat in Baker Sports Center. [circa 1980-90s] 4-0895 The Wildcat plays with children over Homecoming at Richardson Stadium [1984] 2-0213 The Wildcat in Johnston… Continue Reading


“[Many] schools call themselves Wildcats and I am very sorry for there ought to be just one school by the name of Wildcat and that is that little Calvinistic, Presbyterian, fire eating, Bluestocking, Covenanter, dissenting Scotch-Irish school down in the wilds of upper Mecklenburg County.” – Henry T. Lilly ’18 Origins of the Name For… Continue Reading


The Well in the snow. (Before the installation of the marble drinking fountain.) [c. 1916] Photograph by Walter A. Johnson 30-0571 “It’s queer the many things they tell About our deal old college well; No aged man could ever glean The knowledge of things that it has seen.” – 1921 Quips and Cranks In the… Continue Reading

Wildcat Handbook

Class of 1900 Class of 2007 More Covers Wildcat Handbook & Freshman Regulations Begining in 1896, the Freshman Handbook was printed and designed by the Y.M.C.A of Davidson College. It contained all “valuable” information needed by the new freshmen including descriptions of the student organizations, academic calendars, sports informaton and class yells. In addition, it… Continue Reading

War College

Aviation Cadets | Army Reserve (ASTRP) “[The bombing of Pearl Harbor] was the end of an era; nothing would ever be the same again…It has been said that anyone old enough to remember Pearl harbor remembers exactly where he was on that fateful Sunday. For me, the place was the Davidson campus. It was a… Continue Reading

Vail Commons – History

Vail Commons is Davidson College’s largest dining facilty. There had been three previous dining halls (Steward’s Hall, Chambers Gallery, and a cafeteria in Ovens Student Union), but Vail Commons was the largest and was intended to be more upscale then the previous facilities. The south side of Vail Commons. 9-3427 “The interior of the Commons… Continue Reading

Vagt, Robert Fredrick

(b. 1947) Robert Fredrick (Bobby) Vagt began his post as Davidson’s 16th president on July 1, 1997. A Davidson College graduate of the class of 1969, Vagt also graduated from Duke Divinity School and was ordained by Concord Presbytery. He served as director of clinical programs in the Northwest Alabama Mental Health Center before becoming… Continue Reading

Visual Arts Center

Katherine and Tom Belk in the Atrium of the VAC. The Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center (VAC) is located at the corner of Griffith Street and Main Street. Situated at the entrance of Davidson College, it is the first thing most people see when coming to the campus off of Interstate 77. Originally,… Continue Reading

Varsity Athletics

Though Davidson College is best known for outstanding academics, it also has a strong varsity athletics program. A member of the NCAA since 1920, Davidson has eleven men’s sports and ten women’s sports and is a member of the Southern Conference (Storey). Although consisting of only about 1600 students, Davidson participates on the Division I… Continue Reading

Clark, Tom

History Dr. Thomas Fetzer Clark a native of Elizabethtown, North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College in 1949 with a degree in English. He continued his education receiving a Bachelor’s in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Theology from University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He also trained in sculpture at Roberts School of… Continue Reading


“The Senior Class having asked permission to give a play at Commencement, the faculty replied that they were coming to the conclusion that for a college under the direct control of the church amateur theatricals are hardly advisable as a form of entertainment…” – [Faculty Minutes, 29 March 1898] “It may be of interest to… Continue Reading

Student Body Presidents

Back to Encyclopedia Entry Student Body Presidents * indicates later became President of Davidson College Davidson College President Thomas Ross (R) talks 2006-7 SGA President Mac Skelton (L). [29 March 2007] 25-0232 Year President 2017-18 Alex Soltany 2016-17 Ben Callinder / Dara Ferguson 2015-16 Pablo Zevallos 2014-15 Zi Yang 2013-14 Chris Ragsdale 2012-13 Billy Hackenson… Continue Reading

Student Government at Davidson

Student Body Presidents “You are obligated as a Davidson student to govern yourself in accordance with the Davidson tradition. You are obligated to the future also; for the sake of the men who come after you, keep the tradition of student government strong, improve on it, leave it in even finer shape for the next… Continue Reading

Spencer, Samuel Reid, Jr.

(b. 1919) The first president of the Davidson student body to become president of the college was Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr., class of 1940. After graduating summa cum laude from Davidson College, Dr. Spencer, LL.D. served in the U.S. Army during 1940-1945 and was released from active duty as a major. He entered Harvard University… Continue Reading


Davidson College soccer started well before its first varsity season; sons of foreign missionaries in East Asia brought soccer, to them football, to Davidson, beginning a lasting tradition. In 1935, the recorded beginning of the sport, students played pick-up games. The college provided balls and shabby uniforms, but left players to find cleats and other… Continue Reading

Smith, Henry Louis

(b. 1859 d. 1951) Henry Louis Smith, D.D. was Davidson’s first president who was not a Presbyterian minister. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Smith graduated from Davidson College in 1881. After receiving advanced degrees from the University of Virginia, he returned to Davidson in 1887 as a professor of physics and was elected president… Continue Reading

Ships – WW II

U.S.S. William Lee Davidson | U.S.S. Davidson | U.S.S. Neal A. Scott | U.S.S. Hunter Marshall Four ships in service during the second World War were named after Davidson College, founders, or alumni. The U.S.S. William Lee Davidson at sea. 14-0018 U.S.S. William Lee Davidson The U.S.S. William Lee Davidson was a liberty class ship… Continue Reading

Shearer, John Bunyan

(b. 1832 d. 1918) John Bunyan Shearer was educated at Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Virginia, and Union Theological Seminary. When elected president of the college in 1888, Shearer brought to Davidson a vast array of experience in teaching and pastoral work. While following the practice of teaching classes in addition to being president, Shearer… Continue Reading

Senior and Sophomore Apartments

May these structures serve as a retreat and refuge, places to gather in goodwill, havens for study and learning; sites where friendships may flourish. Amen -“Litany of Thanksgiving and Dedication” from the Dedication Ceremony September 23, 1994 For most first year students the transition from living at home to living in a dorm is an… Continue Reading

Rusk Eating House

“R-U-S-K Huskie Ruskies all the way, Number one we’re lots of fun, Throw it back until it’s done, R-U-S-K party hardy everyday, Hot damn body slam, WE LOVE RUSK!” – Rusk Cheer (Quips and Cranks, 2005) The first all-female house on Patterson Court, Rusk Eating House helped pave the way for the modern court. Rusk… Continue Reading

Ross, Thomas Warren

(b. 1950) Thomas Warren Ross, Sr. began his post as Davidson’s 17th president on August 1, 2007. A Davidson College graduate of the class of 1972, Ross attended law school at the Univsersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with honors. For 17 years, he served as a North Carolina Superior Court judge, appointed… Continue Reading

Residence Life

Guitars, acoustic or electric, screaming voices of rowdy freshman sick of Calculus 130, section 5.4, and Play station blaring Tiger Woods Golf on the TV screen in front of two dazed roommates. Today, students lounge around their rooms enjoying the luxuries of air conditioning, refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, and petit bathrooms tucked away in the corner… Continue Reading

Quips and Cranks Editors

Quips and Cranks staff. [1898] 26-001 Year Editor 2016 Mariah Clarke Hayley Atkins 2015 Kendra Smith 2014 Kendra Smith 2013 Hannah Frail Kendra Smith 2012 Katie Burwick Hannah Frail 2011 Kali Blevins 2010 Lindsey Graf Kali Blevins 2009 Lindsey Graf 2008 Lindsey Graf Elizabeth Krebs 2007 Graham Jaenicke Kara Hawkesworth 2006 Jay Henderlite Katie Greeson… Continue Reading

Quips and Cranks Dedication

Year Dedication 2010 Ruth French 2009 No dedication 2008 No dedication 2007 Bobby Vagt 2006 Leland Park, 3rd Director of the Library 2005 Chambers Building 2004 The Outpost 2003 Bill Giduz, College Communications 2002 William Brown, Alavarez College Union Director 2001 Bill Giduz, College Communications 2000 In Memory of Chris 1999 Nick Dancik, Class of… Continue Reading

Quips and Cranks

View Yearbooks Online Quips and Cranks Editors | Quips and Cranks Dedications The business staff admires a new Quips and Cranks. [1947] 27-1552 “But what is an annual, some may ask? Briefly, it is a photographic and historical summary of college life. It contains histories of the several classes, clubs and Greek letter societies, a… Continue Reading

Presidents of Davidson College

Reverend Robert Hall Morrison (b. 1798 d. 1889) President 1836-1840 Reverend Samuel Williamson (b.1795 d. 1882) President 1841-1854 Reverend Drury Lacy (b. 1802 d. 1884) President 1855-1860 Reverend John Lycan Kirkpatrick (b. 1813 d. 1885) President 1860-1866 Reverend George Wilson McPhail (b. 1815 d. 1871) President 1866-1871 Professor John Rennie Blake (b. 1825 d. 1900)… Continue Reading

President’s House

The first president of Davidson College from 1836-1840, Robert Hall Morrison resided in the President’s house with his family.DC 19-0698 The President’s House was constructed for the first president of Davidson College, President Robert Hall Morrison. President Morrison welcomed the students of Davidson College into his home on March 12, 1837 (Davidson 7). The house… Continue Reading

Physics Department

In the original curriculum of the college, astronomy was included as a required course for the junior year. The college elected its first physics professor, Clement Daniel Fishburne, on August 23, 1854 and appointed him Chair of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy. By 1900, the number of course offerings in physics had expanded to four, and… Continue Reading

Philosophy Department

Philosophy courses have been taught at Davidson since at least 1900, but there was no official department until 1946. Before 1946, courses were covered mainly by members of the Bible department. Philosophy was always listed in a separate department, but no professors were hired to only teach philosophy. In the late 1920s, a philosophy club… Continue Reading

Phi Beta Kappa

Original members of the Phi Beta Kappa The Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Davidson College in 1923. The chapter was an outgrowth of the Mimir Society, a local society for the recognition of attainment in scholarship which had been organized May 24, 1915, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Moore McConnell,… Continue Reading

Phi Beta Kappa – Original Student Members

Original Student Members of Phi Beta Kappa 75th Anniversary, 1923-1998 Robert Franklin Davidson (1902-1985) Born in Chester, South Carolina to Z. V. and Kate Gaston Davidson, Robert Franklin Davidson attended Davidson College where he was Salutatorian of the Class of 1923 and was the first student initiated into the Davidson chapter of Phi Beta Kappa… Continue Reading

Patterson Court Occupants by Type

A live band at a Patterson Court party [c. 1971] 27-1474   Co-ed Eating houses: Bailey House 1971-1984 Richards House 1971-1984 Rusk House 1971-1977 Fannie & Mable 1971-1985 Random House 1971-1973 Emanon 1971-1990 PAX 1971-1990 ATO “Apple-Turn-Over” 1971-1983 Et Cetera 1974-1985 CoHo 2000-2006     Female Eating houses: Rusk 1977- Warner 1982- Spencer 1985-1992 Connor… Continue Reading

Patterson Court Occupants By Location

Back to Encyclopedia Entry The houses are numbered 1-12 clockwise beginning with the house on the south-west corner. The 1998 house (across the street) is number 13. Patterson Court [2007] Pi Kappa Alpha (1958- 2010) Multicultural House (2010-2016 ) Spencer-Weinstein Center for Community and Justice (2016-) Sigma Nu (1958-1971) Random House (1971-1973) Et Cetera (1974-1985)… Continue Reading

Patterson Court – History

Patterson Court Occupants by Type | Patterson Court Occupants by Location Patterson Court [2007] “Each of the fraternities will have a separate house, and are scheduled for use in the fall of 1958. ‘We hope that the new court,’ he [D. Grier Martin] said, ‘will be as pioneering and modern in the fraternity housing field… Continue Reading

Sayyid, Omar Ibn

16-0124 Omar Ibn Sayyid Also known as: Umar Ibn Said, Umeroh, Moro, Omora, Meroh, Moreau, Uncle Moreau. (b. circa 1770, d. 1864) Great academic interest and legend surround the life of Omar Ibn Sayyid, a Muslim African slave who lived in the southern states in the early 1800s. He was likely the most educated slave… Continue Reading

Oak and Elm Rows

Elm Row [1883] DC 9-0544 It’s October 2003 at Davidson College. At any dorm location on campus, one can find plenty of jovial students laughing and chatting over the hum of the electric heating systems and the rush of water from the shower stalls just down the hall. Laptops are plugged in for students roaming… Continue Reading

Ney, Peter Stuart

Peter Stuart Ney was a schoolteacher in the Carolinas during the nineteenth century. He reportedly came to America aboard a ship from France. This ship landed in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1818. After a number of moves, Ney took a position as teacher in Mocksville in 1822, and acquired a reputation throughout… Continue Reading

North Carolina Medical College

North Carolina Medical School Building was located on the corner of Concord Road and Lorimer Road across from the public library. It was torn down in October 1970. Included in the history of the sciences at Davidson College is the founding of the North Carolina Medical College. Incorporated in 1893, the North Carolina Medical College… Continue Reading

Morrison, Robert Hall

(b. 1798 d. 1889) Reverend Robert Hall Morrison was thirty-seven years old when he was elected the first president of Davidson College, also making him the youngest president ever elected at Davidson College. Solidly connected with several local churches in the Davidson area, he was, also, an intellectual man who had graduated second to James… Continue Reading

Men’s Basketball Press

Back to Encyclopedia Entry Press and Highlights from Davidson Basketball Please choose from one of the following articles: “Sports Illustrated Scouting Reports – Davidson Ranked #1” – Sport Illustrated, 1963 “Men’s Hoops go to the Big Dance” – Campus Chronicle, 1998 “Vitale: If Davidson’s out, baby, it’s an absolute shame” – Charlotte Observer, 1996 “Bypassed… Continue Reading

McPhail, George Wilson

(b. 1815 d. 1871) The trustees elected Reverend George Wilson McPhail, D. D. in October 1866 to be Davidson’s fifth president. He had been pastor of a church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for more than ten years and, before that, president of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. He also served as President of the Davidson College Board… Continue Reading

McKinnon, Luther

(b. 1840 d. 1916) The first Davidson alumnus to become president of the college, Reverend Luther McKinnon, D.D. was salutatorian of the class of 1861 and had served as a Confederate chaplain. McKinnon, also, served as the president of Floral College in Robeson County, North Carolina, and as a trustee of the Davidson College from… Continue Reading

Mathematics Department

“Hill’s Alegebra” textbook The founding fathers of Davidson College strongly believed that mathematics was central to a student’s education. With this in mind, the original curriculum called for students to take algebra in their first year. In their second year, students enrolled in a geometery course that focused on solid geometry and trigonomety. Calculus courses… Continue Reading

Martin, William Joseph, Jr.

(b. 1868 d. 1943) Dr. “Bill Joe” Martin, M.D, Ph.D, LL.D. was born in Columbia, Tennessee, but moved with his family to Davidson in 1870. His father, Colonel William Joseph Martin, was a professor of Natural Sciences at Davidson College and also served as acting president in 1887-1888 during President Luther McKinnon’s illness. William Martin,… Continue Reading

Martin, David Grier

(b. 1910 d. 1974) A graduate of Davidson College, class of 1932, Dr. Grier Martin, LL.D. served as Davidson College treasurer under President Cunningham. He was forty-eight years old when he accepted the presidency of Davidson College and already had demonstrated service, loyalty, and superb administrative ability during his seven years as college treasurer under… Continue Reading

Martin Chemical Laboratory

Said the Colonel for whom the building is named: “It is proper, however that I should express my conviction, which I think is concurred in by the Faculty, and, so far as I know, by the students also, that no other branch connected with my Chair is more important or more interesting [than chemistry]” (Beaty,… Continue Reading


The side of the mace with “Ne Ultra” carved in it. [1987] 25-0044.01 Also known as: the Sesquicentennial Mace. The Davidson College mace made its début on January 29, 1988 in time for the college’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. Planning for this mace had begun eight years earlier under President Samuel Spencer, Jr., and the idea was… Continue Reading

Lingle, Walter Lee

(b. 1868 d. 1956) A graduate of Davidson College, class of 1892, Reverend Walter Lee Lingle, D.D., LL.D. also attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, graduating in 1896. He taught Hebrew and Greek at the Seminary for two years before accepting a call as a minister. Lingle served three churches before returning to the… Continue Reading

Libraries of Davidson College

This entry gives a brief overview of the college libraries. For more in depth entries on each of the libraries, click on the links below. Union | Carnegie | Grey | Little This bookplate appeared in the library in Chambers Building. It was called Union library to signify the assimilation of the book collections of… Continue Reading


Davidson student leaves the laundry with clean clothes [January 1984 ] 5-0022 By the early 21st century, the Davidson College offered a full service laundry facility, a free self-service laundromat, and two smaller free self-service laundromats located in the senior apartments. Students are charged a mandatory fee bundled with their room. However, this system has… Continue Reading

Lake Campus & Lake Wiley

Davidson students rowing during Freshman Orientation DC 27-0269 For more than a hundred years, water activities have been an important aspect of Davidson College. This important aspect of college life has focused around two lakes: Lake Norman and the lesser known Lake Wiley. The former has presently been affiliated with Davidson College for exactly forty… Continue Reading

Lacy, Drury

(b. 1802 d. 1884) Reverend Drury Lacy was fifty-three years old when he was elected president of Davidson College in 1855. He had graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and Union Theological Seminary and had been the minister of several churches in New Bern and Raleigh, North Carolina. In his first year as president, he experienced a… Continue Reading

Manual Labor

Students who attend manual labor schools are required to work outside of the classroom to generate income for the college.In addition to the benefits of work experience, students receive compensation for producing crops and crafts. This stipend helps keep tuition costs down and, in theory, allows people of all social classes to attend college. Davidson… Continue Reading

Kuykendall, John Wells

(b. 1938) Dr. John Wells Kuykendall, Ph.D., D.D., a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College in 1959. He received a Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Prior to accepting the presidency of Davidson College,… Continue Reading

Kirkpatrick, John Lycan

(b. 1813 d. 1885) With a strong background as a minister in Virginia and South Carolina and an educational background that included Hampden-Sydney and Union Theological Seminary, Reverend John Lycan Kirkpatrick was elected President of Davidson College in 1860. When Kirkpatrick took office, Davidson was primed for expansion and growth. The Civil War, however, interrupted… Continue Reading

July Experience

July Experience students [1995] 1-0059 July Experience “Many students tend to waste their senior year in high school. But our [July Experience] students go back and make that last year even more valuable because they know what’s on the other side of the mountain.” – Dr. William B. Hight On the first of September in… Continue Reading


Since the establishment of Davidson College in 1837, the college has attracted scholars to its institution that are well-rounded individuals. The college of Davidson has continually provided support to allow its students to participate in activities besides those dealing with strictly academics. The intramurals at Davidson are steeped in tradition, but they have also been… Continue Reading

Johnston Gym & Knobloch Campus Center

Johnston Gymnasium | Knobloch Campus Center Dedication of Johnston Gym in 1949. Originally, basketball had not been quite as popular sport at Davidson as it is currently, therefore the Alumni Gymnasium, built around 1916, was not designed to facilitate a growing basketball program. The building’s conditions were so poor, that by the late 1930s and… Continue Reading

Johnston Gym Articles

Articles on Johnston Gym “Wildcats Conclude Season, Win Final Home Game” from The Mecklenburg Gazette, 1989 “So Long, Johnston Gym; Davidson Closing Memorable Old Arena” from The Charlotte Observer, 1989 Great Moments in Johnston Gym Basketball History Even though they ended the season with the worst record in school history, the Davidson basketball team finished… Continue Reading

Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award

Recipients At Fall Convocation, on Saturday, November 2, 1991, Dean of Faculty Robert Williams announced to the Davidson College Community that a teaching award had been created to honor a Davidson faculty member that displays “an exemplary love of teaching.”  Dr. James P. Hamilton, Davidson Class of 1954, a physician in Charlotte, and his wife… Continue Reading


The majority of this article is drawn from the longer essay >A History of Davidson College Honor System” by Chris Knowles. The roots of an honor bound community began with Davidson College’s conception in 1837. The Honor System at Davidson slowly made the transition from the hands of the faculty into the hands of the… Continue Reading

Honorary Fraternities

ODK Pins 27-0389a Honorary Fraternities at Davidson College Alpha Epsilon Delta | Alpha Phi Omega | Alpha Psi Omega | Blue Pencil Society Beta Gamma Phi | Delta Phi Alpha | Delta Pi Kappa | Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha | Eta Sigma Phi Gamma Sigma Epsilon | Gryphon Society | Mimir Society | Mu… Continue Reading

Homecoming Results

Year Davidson Opponent Homecoming Queen Homecoming King 1923 Davidson 7 Citadel 0 N/A N/A 1924 Davidson 0 North Carolina 6 N/A N/A 1925 Davidson 0 North Carolina 13 N/A N/A 1926 Davidson 10 North Carolina 0 N/A N/A 1927 Davidson 0 V.M.I. 20 N/A N/A 1928 Davidson 7 North Carolina 30 N/A N/A 1929 Davidson… Continue Reading


Homecoming courts and game results President Martin, Home- coming Queen Kenny McArter, and Cadet Col. Linton Wray ’62 at the 1961 Homecoming football game. 27-0356 In the early years Davidson Homecoming was regarded as a big weekend on and off campus. The number of alumni and female guests reached the thousands as people flocked together… Continue Reading

History Department

In the early years of Davidson’s history, history courses were taught by professors of the Latin and Greek departments. Most of the early history classes were mainly recitations of Latin and Greek passages (what we would think of as Classics). However, the college soon recognized the need for more modern history courses and history eventually… Continue Reading

Hepburn, Andrew Dousa

(b. 1830 d. 1921) Reverend Andrew Dousa Hepburn,, D.D., LL.D., a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was Davidson’s first northern-born president. As a student, he attended the University of Virginia and Princeton Theological Seminary. He began teaching at the University of North Carolina in 1860 but resigned in 1867. Hepburn joined the faculty of the University… Continue Reading

Historic Buildings

Founded in 1837, Davidson College would one day become “the Princeton of the South.” Known for its timeless red brick buildings and spacious courts, the architecture and landscape of Davidson’s structure parallels the earnest and diligent nature of its students and faculty. The values of the college stand strong the tests of time, aging not… Continue Reading


During the early 1900s, hazing of freshmen was gradually replaced by milder ways of keeping the new boys aware of their low status on campus.  Freshmen caps, which first year men were required to wear at all times, were introduced in 1920.  The caps had to be worn all year long unless the freshman were… Continue Reading


Robert Broadnax Glenn Governors Robert Broadnax Glenn | James Eubert Holshouser, Jr | James Grubbs Martin “When I am governor of this great State, as I surely shall be, I want you all, my friends, to come down to Raleigh, come into the governor’s office, take a seat in the governor’s chair, smoke his cigars,… Continue Reading


Football at Davidson began during the late 1880’s in the form of club ball. The rules for the game of football were still being standardized, so the teams met before every game to set the rules straight for that particular contest. The first uniforms for the club were dark sweaters or canvas jackets with “DC”… Continue Reading


Intramural sports play an important role in student life at Davidson and at many other college campuses across the nation. College students compete in football, basketball, soccer, softball, and many other sports as part of either a club or intramural team. These sports provide students with an escape from their schoolwork and grant them the… Continue Reading

Fire in Eu & Phi Halls – Articles

1921 Phi Hall Article | 1923 Eu Hall Article Article from the March 11, 1921 issue of the Davidsonian about the fire in Phi Hall Blaze in Phi Hall Causes Excitement – Prompt work of Students Saves Ancient Building from Destruction; Mooresville Fire Truck Brings Relief Real “Fire” was on the campus last Friday morning. … Continue Reading

Fire in Old Chambers – Photographs

Pictures of Old Chambers before and after the fire Early color picture of Old Chambers Sketch of the original plans for Chambers (lack of finances only made the construction of the front side possible) Picture of Ivy covering the walls of Old Chambers One of the earliest pictures of Old Chambers Picture of Chambers from… Continue Reading

Fire in Belk Dormitory – Articles

Davidsonian Article | Charlotte Observer Article Mattresses Burn in Belk Sub-Basement – by David Thompson At approximately 10:30 AM on Tuesday, August 6, 1991 a fire erupted in the sub-basement of Belk dormitory. While no injuries were reported, and the fire did no structural damage to the building, several mattresses were destroyed in the blaze. … Continue Reading

Fires at Davidson College

1921: The Fire of Old Chambers On the morning of November 28, 1921, a fire consumed the Old Chambers building in a little more than six hours.  Nobody was seriously hurt in the fire.  Most of the students were able to recover a fair portion of their belongings, but the building was unable to be saved. … Continue Reading

Literary Societies

The Eumenean and Philanthropic Literary Societies were formed by students in 1837 as the first student organizations on the campus. The Eumenean Society’s constitution proclaimed that the “object of this Society shall be the acquirement of literary knowledge, the promotion of virtue, and the cultivation of social harmony and friendship.” They claimed as their Latin… Continue Reading

Dormitory Row

Watts Dormitory Fire [1923] DC 045-142 After moving from the original dormitory location of Oak and Elm Rows, and as living in Old Chambers began to cease, dorm life began to be on Dorm Row. The construction of these traditional dorms took place in the early 20th century, in three major developmental phases, countered by… Continue Reading

Davidson, Chalmers

Chalmers Gaston Davidson was born June 6. 1907 in Chester, South Carolina to Zeb Vance and Kate (Gaston) Davidson. He began his distinguished career in education at Davidson College, graduating summa cum laude in 1928. He continued his education at Harvard (M.A. in 1930 and Ph.D. in 1942) and the University of Chicago (M.A. in… Continue Reading


Evolution is necessary for survival. Darwin’s evolutionary principles and coined expression “survival of the fittest” don’t just apply to chipmunks and cheetahs. All colleges have had to adapt, compete, and make impressive additions to stay alive in the college spectrum. Dormitory [c 1926] DC 9-0477 Over the past one hundred seventy years, Davidson has learned… Continue Reading

Davidson Outdoors

“The purpose of Davidson Outdoors (DO) shall be to promote and increase awareness and appreciation for nature by providing outdoor and other recreational activities as well as programs that further the educational objectives of Davidson College while encouraging the growth of personal qualities such as leadership, self-reliance, confidence, and initiative, and to enrich the Davidson… Continue Reading

Davidson Monthly

Cover issue of the Davidson Monthly, released 2 months ahead of schedule. The Davidson Monthly, first published in March 1870, was a magazine created by Davidson College students, and could be purchased for just two dollars for a ten month subscription. The six editors of the Monthly were seniors “chosen by the two literary societies… Continue Reading


[1960s] 11-0333 “The [Davidson] College Diploma is a fine specimen of engraving. ” –Charlotte Journal [28 August 1846] The Davidson College diploma given to graduating seniors in the early twenty-first century is easily recognizable by its language (Latin) and elaborate design. In fact, the modern diploma is based on the college’s original diploma, used from… Continue Reading

Dining at Davidson

“For Breakfast and supper we have coffee biscuit, egg break batter cakes light bread butter syrup hash & stake. For Dinner cornbread, biscuits, rice, mush, cabbage, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beef, stake, & cyrup. Mrs. Scofield does not appear at dinner but at breakfast & supper she sits at a side table and fills the cups… Continue Reading

Rusk, Dean

Dean Rusk (1909-1994), secretary of state under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, is the namesake of Davidson’s international studies program and was the school’s sixth Rhodes Scholar. Rusk was born on a farm in Cherokee County, Georgia, the son of Davidson alumnus Robert Hugh Rusk, Class of 1894. At age four, his family moved to Atlanta,… Continue Reading

Davidsonian Editors

2013-2014Laura Chuckray Lyla Halsted Caroline Queen Year Editor 2016-2017 Matt Landini Emma Johnson 2015-2016 Will McDuffie Michelle Wan 2014-2015 Addie Balenger Jonathan Marchuk Michelle Wan 2012-2013 Scott Matthews Sarah Welty 2011-2012 Logan Lewis Kelly Wilson 2010-2011 Brian Park 2009-2010 Brett Willis 2008-2009 Suzie Eckl Michelle Jester Brian Moran 2007-2008 Summerlee Walter Pierce Trumbo 2006-2007 Liz… Continue Reading


The 1922 banner graphic for The Davidsonian honors Old Chambers with a picture of the building before in burned down in 1921 On March 18, 1914, the student body voted on and approved the creation of a collegiate newspaper that would report on the campus and local community events and issues. During the same month,… Continue Reading

Cunningham, John Rood

(b. 1891 d. 1980) Reverend John Rood Cunningham, D.D., LL.D. was fifty years old when he accepted the presidency of Davidson College in 1941. A native of Williamsburg, Missouri, Cunningham obtained his B.A. degree from Westminister (Presbyterian) College in 1914 and his D.D. from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in 1917. He was later honored with doctor’s… Continue Reading

Valedictorians at Davidson

Year Valedictorian 2016 Cooper W. Karisch Ryan H. Kozlowski 2015 Samuel T. Castle Elizabeth M. Engle James H. Helzberg 2014 James A. Durling Sarah H. Gustafson Geneveive D. Nielsen Justin C. Strickland 2013 Amy Louise Pugh 2012 Kelvin H. Bates Holly E. Sims 2011 Daniel Martin Allison Rauh 2010 Julia Ward 2009 Sarah Rhodes 2008… Continue Reading

Salutatorians at Davidson

2016 No salutatorian – 2 first honors 2015 No salutatorian – 3 first honors 2014 No salutatorian – 4 first honors 2013 Claire Amer Brennan & Chadwick James Harper 2012 No salutatorian – 2 first honors 2011 No salutatorian – 2 first honors 2010 Baker Shogry 2009 Ben Van Dyke 2008 Brenna T. Burns 2007… Continue Reading


Throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries, Davidson College paraphernalia could be recognized by our striking black and red colors. In our earlier days, however, Davidson College was known by less intimating colors: pink and light blue. These colors were chosen to represent Davidson College “in tribute to the literary societies,” Philanthropic and Eumanean.… Continue Reading

College Bowl

1959 College Bowl Team: (l-r) Charles Chastain ’59, Robert Livingston ’60, Coach Paul Marrotte, Laurens Walker ’59, and Frank Nye ’60. (27-0014) Davidson received their first invitation in 1959.  Davidson College President D. Grier Martin remarked that the televised college bowl was Davidson’s “best opportunity for national publicity in the history of this college” (Duggan). … Continue Reading

Commencement at Davidson

Salutatorians at Davidson | Valedictorians at Davidson “If we look back, the history of Davidson College is soon told. Three years and about five month only have passed, since the first resolution in reference to it was drawn. The prospect of success was then no brighter than a confident reliance upon God’s blessing, and the… Continue Reading

Carolina Inn (History)

The architecture of the Carolina Inn is an important part of the Mecklenburg County heritage and reflects the architectural mood of the community at different moments in time. The restoration saved the town’s heritage, recreated beauty, and provided needed space for academic facility (Beaty 85). Throughout the building’s history, it has always been a “useful… Continue Reading

Chemistry Department

Chemistry has been a part of the curriculum at Davidson College since its opening in 1837. The Reverend Robert Hall Morrison, the first president of Davidson, lectured in chemistry from 1837-1841; and its second president, the Reverend Samuel Williamson, was the first professor of chemistry at Davidson. A chemistry laboratory was included in the original… Continue Reading


Coeducation at Davidson had its beginnings in the 1860s, when the five daughters of President John Kirkpatrick were enrolled to increase the size of a student body depleted by the Civil War. From that time on, faculty daughters and qualified ladies from the town were admitted to courses. However, they could not earn degrees and… Continue Reading

College Catalogs

Although the first classes began in 1837, the first Davidson College catalog appeared in 1842. The catalogs contain lists of trustees, faculty and students; information about admission requirements; courses of study; tuition and fees; and a description of the character of the college. From 1842 to 1855, the catalog also included lists  of alumni. The… Continue Reading

Cake Race – Winners

Year Sex Name Home Time Race length varies. 2016 F. Maddie Hunter Charlottesville, VA 12:21 2016 M. Robert Seaton-Todd Cleveland, OH 7:33 2014 F. Allison Cheeseman Helen Webster Sierra Ponthier Anna Buser Eliza Lawless Laurel Sheffield Hannah Moerk Nashville, TN Chevy Chase, MD Palos Verdes Estates, CA McLean, VA Bethlehem, PA Buena Vista, VA Kernersville,… Continue Reading

Cake Race

Cake Race Winners The Davidson College Freshmen Cake Race is tradition that has endured by embracing change. Freshmen year is a nervous and scary experience for almost every Davidson student. For the incoming class of ‘34 the experience was made even more grueling by a mandatory 1.7 mile race. This race, which has been held… Continue Reading

Edwards, Bill -Legend

This plaque of “William Davidson Edwards” was dedicated with the book drop at E. H. Little Library. The picture is actually of a Navy buddy of Mike Myers. His name is John Speer. William “Bill” Davidson Edwards, Class of 1953, was a fictional alumnus of Davidson College, created by Mike Myers, also Class of 1953.… Continue Reading

Blake, John Rennie

(b. 1825 d. 1900) From 1871-1877, Davidson College had no official president, but was administered by a faculty chairman, Professor John Rennie Blake. The position of Chairman of the faculty replaced the college presidency for those years. Blake was born in Greenwood, South Carolina and attended the University of Georgia and Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School.… Continue Reading

Biology Department

In the 1800’s, Biology had little place at Davidson, although some lectures on botany and zoology were a part of the required geology course. The trustees did consider adding a “Professorship of Physiology and Hygiene” in 1892, but any movement toward full acceptance of the biological sciences was still quite controversial, considering the college’s emphasis… Continue Reading


“In Memory of our soldier dead, To you from falling hands we throw the torch; Be yours to hold it high.” – Chambers Bell inscription. Chief Marshall Leland Park with the original Davidson College bell [1987] 25-0104a Early Bells The earliest college bell was small and attached to a wooden rocker that was rung by… Continue Reading


Over the last 130 years at Davidson College, baseball has progressed from a Saturday morning gathering in a sandlot to a competitive NCAA Division I athletic program. Due to the initiatives of the players and coaches, the program has improved its facilities and sent many players to the next level while gaining widespread  recognition for… Continue Reading

Freshman Beanies and Pins

The Freshman Beanie was introduced in 1920.  The original style was a black cap with a red button on top and a green F attached to the front of the cap.  These later gave way to a red cap with the class year of the freshman prominently displayed in black on the front of the… Continue Reading

Art Department

Art was first taught in 1928, when a bequest from William H. Williamson (class of 1886) established a Professorship in Fine Arts. From 1928 to 1931, Ernest Cullum taught an art appreciation course. This course continued until 1953, and it was taught by C.R. Harding, Joseph Hutchinson, and Philip Moose. In 1953, Douglas Houchens became… Continue Reading

Chambers – The Old and the New

This magnificent building of power and prestige was named after the memorable Maxwell Chambers. He generously left his inheritance to Davidson, laying the monetary foundation of this grand structure. Even though tragedy struck Chambers, its strong tradition and spirit was never lost and still lives on today. A view of the original Chambers Building DC… Continue Reading

Eating Houses

Munchies | Random House | ATO “Apple-Turn-Over” | Fannie & Mable | Et Cetera Emanon | PAX | Rusk | Warner Hall | Spencer | Connor | Turner | CoHo “R-U-S-K Huskie Ruskies all the way, Number one we’re lots of fun, Throw it back until it’s done, R-U-S-K party hardy everyday, Hot damn body… Continue Reading

Alma Mater

Davidson’s Alma Mater is titled “All Hail! O Davidson!” The words were written by Dr. George M. Maxwell, class of 1896, and by 1938, Dr. James C. Pfohl had arranged the lyrics in hymn form. The original lyrics are as follows: All hail! O Davidson, Our dear old Alma Mater, Our Fathers loved thee, gave… Continue Reading