In February, the Buffalo News featured an article about Clarence “Dave” Davis Jr. ’48 and his recent gift to Hobart and William Smith.
A longtime supporter of the Colleges, Davis is the former owner of Queen City Garden Town Nursery and in 2018, donated one of the company’s Amherst, N.Y. properties to HWS. The sale of that property resulted in a $200,000 gift to the Colleges.
As noted in the article, “Loyal Buffalo alumnus boosts Hobart with gift of garden center,” this is the second time that Davis has donated property in Amherst to the Colleges; the first, in 2013, is used to support internships for visual arts students.
“I wanted to do something worthwhile,” Davis explains. “If I can help one or two kids, boy, that makes me feel good.”
In 2009, Davis’ funding of a significant renovation to the Colleges’ gallery space in Houghton House led to the dedication of the space as the Davis 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.
In addition to the endowment and the support to renovate the gallery space, Davis plans to endow, through his estate plans, The Clarence A. Davis ’48 Chair in Visual Arts, the first of its kind in the arts at HWS.
A Buffalo native, Davis earned a B.S. in chemistry and economics at HWS and was a member of Sigma Chi and the Herald. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy and then earned a master’s in plant pathology from Cornell University. In his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., he also supports several art galleries.
A proponent and sponsor of youth athletics, particularly track and field and bodybuilding, he has served as the Niagara Association Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) president and delegate to its annual convention every year since 1956, and was inducted into the AAU’s Hall of Fame in 1995, as well as the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association USA.
In 2015, the Colleges honored Davis with the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Trustee Community Service Award.