Dr. Anita Price Davis was the Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of Education at Converse. She received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Appalachian State University and the Ed. D. degree from Duke University and began teaching at Converse College in 1969, teaching for 36 years until her retirement in 2005. She received Converse’s highest teaching rank, the Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of Education. She was honored as a teacher by the Governor of South Carolina in 1994 and received the Kathryne Amelia Brown Award in 1986 for outstanding teaching at Converse. Dr. Davis passed away on June 27, 2021 at age 78.
Dr. Jeff Barker, who joined Converse in 2002, serving as Converse Provost from 2015-2021 and Converse President for the 2021-2022 academic year, reflected on Dr. Davis’s contributions to the institution. “Dr. Davis played numerous vital roles at Converse, including department chair. She served Converse well down through the years, becoming a role model to generations of students, student teachers, and colleagues. The impact of her teaching is felt in schools and at colleges and universities across our region and country. Just one measure of this impact is the fact that one of the faculty members in Education hired not to replace Dr. Davis, since that would be impossible, but to carry on her work, was herself a student of Anita Davis. Since her time at Converse, that student went on to a distinguished career in public education and then began an equally distinguished university career in teacher education. She carried on the work of her mentor, one of many who followed that path.”
Dr. Davis pursued a variety of scholarly interests, becoming one of the most widely published members of the Converse faculty. Many of her books helped students prepare for teaching, while others helped communities in the region to celebrate their memories of “the greatest generation.”
“So many of her former students have told me about Dr. Davis taking time to talk with them, look them in the eye, and make them feel like they were the most important person in the world.”
In remembering Dr. Davis, Dr. Kelly Harrison Maguire, Associate Professor of Education commented, “Dr. Davis got it right. She was my professor, mentor, friend, colleague, and role model of how to love your family and others well while also excelling in your career. To me, she got it right because her priorities were in good order. So many of her former students have told me about Dr. Davis taking time to talk with them, look them in the eye, and make them feel like they were the most important person in the world. She made us feel seen and heard and showed us how important it is for us to make our students feel the same way and how important it is to be a reflective practitioner. That is a gift not many people receive. She was so intelligent and a hard and efficient worker.”
“She left this world better than she found it. She left Converse better than she found it.”
Dr. Maguire continued, “If you were ever collaborating on a project with Dr. Davis, you had to collaborate quickly, because she got things done at warp speed and did so with excellence–there was no time to delay! She was focused on making the Education Department and Converse the best it could be. Dr. Davis was successful in her efforts. Her ability to successfully write accreditation reports, publish articles and books in her field, and write grants that brought both money to the college and opportunities for her students is second to none. She wrote a grant in the 1990s for the South Carolina Critical Needs program that prepared adults in other fields to be educators in areas of our state with teacher shortages. She made Converse a leader in the state by serving a great need. There are too many grants, publications, and lessons to mention. She left this world better than she found it. She left Converse better than she found it. She certainly left me better than she found me. Dr. Davis was a rare combination of scholar, teacher, servant, wife, mother, friend, and colleague that few people achieve. Dr. Davis was one of a kind.”
Converse celebrates the memory of one of our truly distinguished faculty members, Dr. Anita Davis. We are grateful for her work and her wisdom. Her lasting legacy is evident in so much of what Converse has come to mean to teacher education in South Carolina. She will be missed.