Diversions

A Personal Conversation With President-Elect Dr. Davis

The Paladin catches up with Furman's new president-elect.

davis

By Ashlan Jackson

The Paladin: What would you consider the best book you’ve read recently?

Dr. Elizabeth Davis: The King’s Deception by Steve Berry. It’s historical fiction [in the] Dan Brown kind of genre. I like to read Dan Brown and John Grisham. I like to read mystery books. I also read for escapism, because I am often reading for work.

 

P: Do you have any hobbies or unique interests?

D: Every Sunday afternoon I like to work the New York Times crossword puzzle and do the sudoku. I’m a big puzzle person so doing this lets me relax, pour my mind into something and not think about work or whatever may be going on. I’ve been doing puzzles since I was a kid. I remember watching my grandmother do it in pen, and since then I have had a goal to do it in pen.

 

P: What would you consider the best place you’ve traveled or lived recently?

D: It was fun living in New Orleans when I was single. After I graduated college I moved back to New Orleans, and I worked downtown so I could walk to the French Quarter for lunch. I enjoyed the music scene as well. I started off playing the piano, and I started off playing the French horn in the band but switched to trombone. My claim to fame is I played with Wynton Marsalis, a famous jazz trumpeter.

P: What do you consider your greatest professorial accomplishment?

D: Leading Baylor’s strategic planning process was a huge accomplishment. It was two years long but really set the vision for this next phase in the life of Baylor University. People still will often refer to the vision and pieces of the process, which is very rewarding.

 

P: What was your favorite thing about being an undergraduate student?

D: When I look back on it, what really stuck with me for a lifetime were the relationships I created with faculty. The reason I am an accounting professor is because of a conversation I had with one of my professors. The impact that faculty had in terms of helping me identify and build on what I could do and do well really helped me.

 

P: Why did you decide to major in accounting, and did you ever switch your major?

D: I started as a computer science major, and I really didn’t appreciate or have any kind of imagination for what life might be as a computer science major, so I switched to accounting, not really knowing what I was getting myself into, but I felt like it would let me use my math and logic skills. As it turned out I ending up being really good at it too, so that’s how I got there.

 

P: Would you have any advice for students who are struggling with deciding a major?

D: As long as students study what they love and develop those skills that help them exit gracefully. I wouldn’t get too wound up with a major because when you study things you love you are willing to learn more deeply. Your major is unlikely going to be the determining factor for what you will do for the rest of our life. Students need to be open to the opportunities that are available and understand how things they are studying are transforming them to be productive citizens and an active part of our workforce and our democracy.

 

P: What would you consider your favorite class in college?

D: I can remember being surprised at how much I liked geology, and in my APA review class, I can remember the moment where it felt like the lights went on and I really saw how everything I had been studying all worked together.

 

P: Who was your favorite professor in college?

D: My favorite professor is named Del Chesser, and he is the one who pointed me to life as a professor. We are still friends to this day. At Baylor we were colleagues. He took such an interest in me not just as an accounting student but as a person.

 

P: Are you a dog or cat person?

D: Cat, although as a child I had dogs. We have two cats and are looking into their lives in White Oaks.

 

P: If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

D: Apparition because I am always having to be at meetings, and they are always right after each other. They are also never in the same place. If I could apparate, I could make my meetings in time.

 

P: What would you consider your favorite place on campus?

D: I have not had too much time to explore, but from what I have seen, I would have to say by the lake and by the bell tower. I can remember when I walked on campus and took a tour and saw how stunning it was and thus sparked my imagination about life at Furman.

Interview has been condensed and edited for publication.

 

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