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Susan Faye Davis

February 23, 2018

We are saddened to announce the passing of Susan Faye Davis in the early hours of February 23, 2018. She had recently taken up residence at Kendal at Granville following months of cancer treatment for a brain tumor. Even more bittersweet, we just celebrated her 57th birthday on February 20 along with her children, Nicholas and Valerie Reed, as well as numerous members of her Denison family, Davis family and friends. Sue was a devoted mother and Denison University professor, and as such, she was passionate that Nick and Val pursue their higher education goals despite her illness.

A member of the Denison faculty since 2002, Sue was designated as a William G. Bowen Distinguished Professor, associate professor of Political Science and former chair of the department, and former director of the Off-Campus Studies Program. She was incredibly proud to have been the first woman to be tenured in the Political Science Department and Sue was a stalwart supporter of female leadership on campus, serving as mentor and confidante to many female faculty and inspiring many of them in the classroom and in their leadership.

Sue was a fierce intellectual, a straight-talker, a life-long learner and a great friend. As a political science professor, she wanted her students to look beyond their points of view and understand the global forces that connect and affect people. As the director of Off-Campus Studies, Sue wanted every student to have the opportunity to study off-campus, to see the world in person, and engage with and learn from different people and cultures. Sue established Denison’s partnership with the Global Liberal Arts Alliance and other international partnerships in places as varied as Ashesi in Ghana, Flame in India, Lingnan in Hong Kong, and AUP in Paris, fostering an exchange of students, faculty and ideas that enriches us all.

Sue believed that teaching is both and art and a skill, and that students deserve the best. She was instrumental in reviving the Teaching Matters program, and she chaired the task force that led to the creation of the Center for Learning and Teaching, where her work in helping faculty become better teachers continues today. She was an energetic proponent of any effort she took part in, and her efforts continue to bear fruit on campus today. As Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, she oversaw a new course grid and the inauguration of the Denison Seminars, a program that brings faculty together across disciplines and gives more of our students opportunities to study off-campus.

Sue earned a bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a doctorate from Emory University. Sue is preceded in death by her parents, Jim and Shirley, and her brother Rick. Along with her children, Sue  leaves behind her brother Mike, his wife Tama and their children Tyler, Kenzie and Logan. 

A memorial gathering will be held on Thursday, March 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Denison University, third floor of Slayter Hall (Student Union) located at 200 Ridge Road in Granville.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Denison University, 100 West College Street, Granville, Ohio 43023, or online at   

Please include a notation that the gift is in memory of Sue Davis.

Donations may be made to:

Denison University
100 W. College Street, Granville OH 43023

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