Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-02-09

Dr. J. Roderick Davis has been named the nation's top Omicron Delta Kappa faculty advisor from among counterparts at 300 college circles nationwide.

Davis, English professor and retired dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences, received the ODK Robert Bishop Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award during a student convocation at Samford Thursday (FEB. 8). He has been an advisor to the Samford circle of the leadership honor society since 1997.

Davis' connection to the Samford circle began with his induction as a student member in 1956. The 1958 Samford graduate was dean of arts and sciences at Samford from 1990 to 2001.

Nominators cited his leadership in initiating a "50 Leaders of Influence" recognition ceremony for Samford alumni in 2001, in helping the circle develop a plan of action to increase diversity on campus, and in facilitating an ODK presence during Samford's presidential transition in 2006.

He was also commended for his help in the circle's commitment to promote social justice and foster leadership in Alabama's Black Belt. The Samford circle has initiated unique education and service opportunities in Marion, including a leadership program for high school students.

"Dean Davis is the epitome of the Omicron Delta Kappa leader-from his commitment to excellence in leadership and scholarship to his commitment to service and relationships, he sets a model for both students and faculty," wrote a nominator in materials sent to judges.

Davis was presented the framed national advisor of the year certificate and accompanying $500 cash award by Samford ODK co-advisor Dr. Betsy Holloway and circle president Mary Kathryn Covert.

An Albertville native, Davis holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He was on the faculty of City University of New York before returning to his undergraduate alma mater as arts and sciences dean in 1990.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.