At the annual HWS Buffalo Summer Gathering, alums, parents, friends, incoming students and their parents will gather to honor Clarence “Dave” Davis Jr. ’48 with the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Trustee Community Service Award.
“The dedication Dave Davis has shown, particularly in support of students and the arts at his alma mater and in his local community, embodies the values of service we champion at Hobart and William Smith,” says HWS President Mark D. Gearan.
In 2009, the HWS Board of Trustees founded the Trustee Community Service Award to honor and celebrate alumni, alumnae, parents and friends of the Colleges who lead lives of consequence and who serve as an example to all. The Award is given to members of the HWS community who have demonstrated an extraordinary and sustained volunteer commitment in serving their communities – local, regional, national and international.
The gifts Davis has given to the Colleges have been instrumental in enhancing the visual arts on campus. His funding of a significant renovation to the Colleges’ gallery space in Houghton House in 2009 led to the dedication of the space as the Clarence “Dave” Davis Jr. ’48 Gallery at Houghton House. In addition to providing for the physical renovation of the space, Davis established The Davis Endowment for Support of the Visual Arts that enables HWS to host important exhibitions on campus and provide necessary funding to develop resources that complement the exhibitions and enhance their educational value.
“The renovation of the Davis Gallery and the programming endowment given to us by Mr. Davis has been a momentous event in the history of the department of art and architecture,” says Kathryn Vaughn, the Colleges’ visual arts curator. “The opportunity to bring four professional quality exhibitions to campus each year as well as two campus-related shows and to allow students to learn gallery and museum skills working in such a great environment has had a significant impact on the arts culture on campus. We look forward to the endowed chair when it comes in the future.”
Davis came to Hobart College as part of the V-12 program after spending a year with the U.S. Navy. At Hobart, he earned a B.S. in chemistry and economics before going on to receive an advanced degree in plant pathology from Cornell University in 1950.
Following a stint working for large nurseries in Westchester County, Davis returned to Buffalo where he opened two garden centers. He donated one property to the Colleges in 2013 and still owns and actively manages the larger nursery and garden center. As a long-time resident and businessman, Davis is an enthusiastic supporter of his community and is a particularly strong advocate for his church, the Albright-Knox Museum, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Buffalo Center for the Arts.
A tireless advocate for young people, Davis has spent countless dollars, time and energy in support of amateur athletics. His first love is track and field and he founded the Garden Town Track Club in 1954, which continued as the Niagara Frontier Track Club until 1989. For more than 50 years, he has been involved with the Niagara Association of Amateur Athletic Union and served as its president from 1974 to 1976 and 1988 to 2013.
His activity on the local level took Davis to a larger role in The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports, AAU has worked to prepare athletes for the Olympics and is focused on providing sports programs for young people of all ages. He was inducted into the National AAU’s Hall of Fame in 1995, as well as the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association USA.
Among the “graduates” of his programs are 1976 Olympic silver medal winner Mike Shine, local running legend Mark Finucane and former University of Buffalo decathlete, Paul Amato. Davis has remained in close contact with many of the young men and women whom he mentored during their amateur athletic careers.
Davis’s service has been recognized nationally and he is the recipient ofthe Chevron National Community Service Award, the Don Kavadas Memorial Award for longstanding commitment to the betterment of athletics, and the AAU Veterans Gold & Silver Awards as well as the AAU Life Membership Award.
On Tuesday, Aug. 18, Thomas and Kathleen O’Brien P’13, P’14, P’18 and Kristin Augenblick ’12 will host a reception in Davis’s honor at the Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, N.Y., from 6 to 8 p.m.
Register online by Friday, Aug. 14. Contact Betty Merkle in Alumni House with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.