Furman welcomes Davis as president

Office of the Provost ? Baylor Provost Elizabeth Davis ? 03/02/2011

By Jordan Corona
Staff Writer

Furman University in Greenville, S.C., has a new president—Baylor’s executive vice president and provost, Dr. Elizabeth Davis.

“I will miss Baylor,” Davis said. “I’ve spent nearly half my life at Baylor. It’s shaped the person I’ve become.”

In a press conference hosted Thursday morning at Furman, the Board of Trustees announced their selection. Davis, her husband Charles, their son and daughter were present for the announcement.

Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said the opportunity was a great one for Davis.

One worry, he mentioned tongue-in-cheek, was that Davis’ daughter who is still in high school, might not be a Baylor Bear after all.

“Elizabeth is universally respected and admired by all Baylor faculty,” Starr said.

Furman Board of Trustees made its decision in a unanimous election Sunday.

“We are tickled pink to have her,” said Richard Cullen, chair of the Furman Board of Trustees. “She’s a strong leader and a good listener.”

In an email to the Lariat, Dr. Jim Patton, chair of Baylor’s Faculty Senate, said no one is in place to take Davis’ position, which will end late June 2014.

Davis, who earned her undergraduate degree from Baylor, currently oversees educational and research programs for 11 schools and colleges at Baylor and their 250-degree programs. The Academic Affairs budget her administration manages totals about $235 million annually.

Though the governing body has no formal statement on Davis’ new position, Patton said he thought faculty senators were very happy for her.

“We will miss her, but we are gratified that Furman’s search team recognized in our Provost the type of collaborative leader they wish to lead their university,” he said.

Davis said she felt excited and enthusiastic in anticipation for her new leadership role. Her administration at the South Carolina university will begin July 1.

Davis said she first heard about the position this past fall, but took the call from Furman leadership Saturday.

“Their commitment to undergraduate education and residential living was very consistent with what I value in undergraduate education,” she said.

She wouldn’t comment on any plans for the start of her administration at Furman until she’d had a chance to talk with Furman faculty.

Starting this summer, she said she would spend the day around the school, getting to know those who keep the university going during the summertime.