Category Archives: Article

Religious Studies at Davidson

Entry written by Emily Privott ’19, a graduate in Religious Studies from Davidson College and former Archives Assistant in Archives, Special Collections & Community.

In 1837, Davidson College was founded by members of the Concord Presbytery. Since the college’s founding, the study of religion has been a central offering in the curriculum. From a department of “Ethics, Christian Evidences, Bible Studies” to “Religious Studies,” the study of religion has consistently evolved throughout Davidson’s history.

Pre-department name

While Davidson College was founded in 1837, the earliest known college catalog was produced in 1842. At this time, courses in religion were limited to the Greek Testament, offered to the preparatory class, and Evidences of Christianity, offered to seniors.[1] From 1844 to the latter 1860s, these courses were the primary offerings in the study of religion, with the following specification that preparatory students were expected to have knowledge of John’s Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles when studying the Greek Testament.[2] In 1869, course offerings expanded to include Bible Geography and Chronology and Bible History for freshmen, Harmony of the Gospels: Greek Testament and Gospels in Greek Testament for sophomores, Greek Testament: Epistles for juniors and seniors, and an optional Hebrew course for seniors. Evidences of Christianity remained a course offering for juniors.[3] There was a clear emphasis on learning the classical languages of Greek and Latin to more properly be able to approach and discern scripture. During this time period, courses were listed in the college catalog by title and often did not have lengthy accompanying descriptions. However, it is potentially helpful to understand the religious heritage of the College at the time to understand the context in which religion was being studied.

Founded by the Concord Presbytery, Davidson was envisioned a College in which the youthful mind, might be trained “under the restraints of Christianity and in which the Bible should be recognized as the infallible rule of life.”[4] Both students and professors were likely to have been Christian and to have regularly attended divine worship and recitation on Sabbath. Additionally, according to the laws and regulations of the college, students and professors were not allowed to deny God’s existence and could not act in such a way that was subversive of the principles of Christianity, particularly Presbyterianism.[5] During this time, non-Christian religious traditions were not studied.

Ethics, Christian Evidences, Bible Studies

In 1885, the department officially adopted its first official name, “Ethics, Christian Evidences and Bible Studies.” In the previous year (1884), the department reworked its curriculum and offered courses that would allow a closer study of biblical texts. New, individual courses included one on the Book of Genesis, one on the Books of Exodus and Leviticus, and one on the Acts of Paul. Courses in “Christian Evidences” were still offered, but were listed under the “Mental Philosophy and English Literature” department. While the department is listed as its own category, there is not a particularly in-depth department description. Rather, this description merely lists what textbooks will be used and what will be generally studied. For example, the junior class studies the Bible and Ethics, while the senior class studies Christian Evidences and the Bible.[6] Despite the department’s official inception, the course of study largely remains the same as previously, with an exclusive emphasis on the Christian tradition.

Biblical Instruction

In 1888, the department was renamed to “Biblical Instruction” when John Bunyan Shearer joined the faculty as President of the college. Shearer overhauled the department and instituted a new curriculum, with the goal of students “[mastering] the contents of the sacred page, just as any other text-book is mastered by careful study and class-room drill.”[7] Courses were listed under the broadly defined department name of “Biblical Instruction”, not by individual content. However, course content is described in the department’s official description. While the freshman and sophomore classes are particularly concerned with the Old Testament, the junior class is primarily focused on the New Testament and studying the Life of Christ. Study includes discussing New Testament History, the Harmony of the Gospels, the Unities of Scripture, Evidences of Christianity, and Bible Morality (with special emphasis on the Sermon on the Mount). In particular, the freshman class begins their study with the Book of Genesis and ends with discussing the figure Samuel. The sophomore class begins with the Book of Kings and ends with the birth of Christ “embracing Oriental History as it interlaces with Jewish History.”[8]

Additionally, topics of discussion included “Bible History, Oriental History, the Connections of Sacred and Profane History. Geography, Archeology in light of modern researches in the East, Laws, moral, ceremonial, civil, and social, Typology, Miracles, Fulfilled Prophecies, and the Unities of Scripture.”[9] Evidences of Christianity continued to be offered, but was reframed as “an appendix to the course” and “needed only a summing up and classifying in systematic and scientific form.”[10]

Consistent with the department’s history, Christianity was the primary focus. While “Oriental History” was discussed, most likely this was done in the context of preparing students for missionary work. In many cases, there were students who attended Davidson that were the sons of foreign missionaries and who intended to carry on this work. Additionally, many individuals who attended Davidson pursued this vocational path and became ministers.

Biblical Instruction and Religious Education

In 1928, the department changed its name to “Biblical Instruction and Religious Education.” Courses included: Old Testament History, Old and New Testament History, General Church History and Government, Old Testament Ideals [individual courses in a)The Law and b) the Prophets], Sources of Christian Ethics [individual courses in a)The Teachings of Jesus and b) The Earliest Christian Writings], Theory of Religious Education, and Organization and Curriculum of Religious Education).[11] Courses in Old Testament Ideals and Sources of Christian Ethics intended to relate Scriptures to present-day application. During this time, new courses such as General Church History and Government and The Bible as Literature arose, suggesting an increase in the historical and literary approaches in the department. Additionally, the institution of courses in religious education implies that the study of religion was considered, in-part, as preparation for a career in the ministry.

Bible and Religious Education

In 1936, the department experienced a minimal name change to “Bible and Religious Education.” Largely, the curriculum remained the same. However, a new course was introduced about the psychology of religion.

Bible and Religion

In 1940, the department was renamed yet again, this time to “Bible and Religion.” During this period, many new courses were introduced to the department, including: Essentials of the Christian Faith, Essentials of Christian Experience,[12] The Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith,[13] Bible: The Protestant Reformation,[14] Pre-Reformation Church History, Post-Reformation Church History,[15] Introducing the Bible, Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew People, Post-Exilic Judaism,[16] Contemporary Religions in the United States,[17] The Theology of John, and Apocalyptic Literature.[18] At this point, the department has not yet seriously studied Eastern religious traditions. It has however included the study of Catholicism in the Contemporary Religions in the United States course.

1960s and Onward


In 1968, the department dropped the Bible from its name and became the Department of Religion. From this point onward, the department experienced its greatest expansion in course offerings, both in traditions and topics covered.

First, with respect to traditions covered, the department went beyond a Christian dominated framework to incorporate non-Christian, particularly Asian religious traditions. Added courses included Comparative Religion: The Religions of the Indian Sub-Continent (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.), [19] individual classes in Hinduism and Buddhism,[20] an individual course on Islam,[21] Religions of China and Japan,[22] Japanese Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism,[23] Islamic Ethics,[24] Sunni and Shiite Islam,[25] and Buddhism in America.[26]

During this period, the department also expanded its offerings in terms of focusing on particular social aspects of religious phenomena, including race, gender, and medicine. Added courses included Gender and Christianity,[27] Sex and the Body in Early Christian Literature,[28] and Women in American Religion,[29] Liberation Theology,[30] Martin Luther King Jr. and Nonviolence,[31] African American Religious Traditions,[32] Religion and Racism,[33] Death and Dying,[34] Religion, Ethics, and Medicine,[35] and Basic Issues in Religion and Science.[36] Additionally, courses connecting religion to art,[37] to film,[38] to nature,[39] and to food[40], were added.  The addition of these courses reflects a broadening scope in the study of religion and the methods and approaches involved in this discipline.

Today: Religious Studies

In 2016, the department changed its name from “Religion” to “Religious Studies”, the title which the department currently holds. As discussed previously, the department now has a strong presence of courses about non-Christian traditions as well as a continued presence of courses concerning Christian traditions. The scope of topics studied still includes religious dimensions of societal issues, such as race, gender, war, and politics.


[1] Davidson College Catalog, 1842.

[2] In addition to these courses that were clearly religion-focused, there were also courses offered in Mental and Moral Philosophy. While these courses potentially were of a religious character, this conclusion is uncertain.

[3] Davidson College Catalog, 1869.

[4] Davidson College Catalog, 1842.

[5] Davidson College Catalog, 1846.

[6] Davidson College Catalog, 1885.

[7] Davidson College Catalog, 1889.

[8] Potentially the first time the word “Jewish” is used in the department. Davidson College Catalog, 1889.

[9] Davidson College Catalog, 1889.

[10] The use and meaning of the word “scientific” could be discussed further. Davidson College Catalog, 1889.

[11] Davidson College Course Catalog, 1928.

[12] Davidson College Catalog, 1947. Course titles listed without a direct footnote are understood to be associated with the next course title with a corresponding footnote. For example, the course “Essentials of the Christian Faith” does not have a footnote, but the next listing “Essentials of Christian Experience” does. Therefore, the course “Essentials of the Christian Faith” should be understood as having first appeared in the same 1947 course catalog as “Essentials of Christian Experience.” The same idea carries forth for “Pre-Reformation History”,  “Introducing the Bible”, etc.

[13] Davidson College Catalog, 1948.

[14] Davidson College Catalog, 1949.

[15] Davidson College Catalog, 1952.

[16] Davidson College Catalog, 1958.

[17] Davidson College Catalog, 1960.

[18] Davidson College Catalog, 1961.

[19] Davidson College Catalog, 1968.

[20] Davidson College Catalog, 1976.

[21] Davidson College Catalog, 1981.

[22] Davidson College Catalog, 1986.

[23] Davidson College Catalog, 2003.

[24] Davidson College Catalog, 2010.

[25] Davidson College Catalog, 2011.

[26] Davidson College Catalog, 2014.

[27] Davidson College Catalog, 1990.

[28] Davidson College Catalog, 1994.

[29] Davidson College Catalog, 2004.

[30] Davidson College Catalog, 1982.

[31] Davidson College Catalog, 1983.

[32] Davidson College Catalog, 2006.

[33] Davidson College Catalog, 2009.

[34] Davidson College Catalog, 1979.

[35] Davidson College Catalog, 2005

[36] Davidson College Catalog, 2006.

[37] Davidson College Catalog, 1968.

[38] Davidson College Catalog, 1999.

[39] Davidson College Catalog, 2000.

[40] Davidson College Catalog, 2004.

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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

Dates: Built in 1836-37. Remodeled in 1860, 1884, 1941, 1959, 1998. 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 was a simple two-story house resembling a farmhouse that measured 22… 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

Machis | 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