Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th President on July 1, 2014. Under her leadership, the university has instituted The Furman Advantage, a distinctive vision for higher education centered on a comprehensive student experience. Through The Furman Advantage, the university creates a personalized pathway for every student that leads to lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit. Combining the strengths of a liberal arts and sciences education with relevant out-of-class experiences and a team of mentors to guide each student, Furman is shifting the focus to the individual student in a way that universities have claimed to do but rarely achieved. The groundbreaking effort was launched in October 2016 with $47 million from The Duke Endowment.
President Davis is a member of the Council of Presidents, an advisory group of college and university chief executives who provide guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and is an honorary member of the Board of Governors of the Commerce Club. She is also a member of the Greenville Rotary Club, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Committee, and the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission. She has been recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as one of Greenville’s “50 Most Influential People.”
Dr. Davis has addressed numerous organizations in the Upstate since arriving at Furman, and she has also spoken throughout the U.S. on issues involving higher education, university leadership and financial management. She has written op-eds for The Greenville News, University Business and other publications, and has done numerous interviews on radio and television on the subject of higher education.
Before coming to Furman, Dr. Davis spent 22 years at Baylor University in Texas, where she most recently held the position of Executive Vice President and Provost. In addition to being a member of the accounting faculty at Baylor, she also served as Vice Provost for Financial and Academic Administration, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs, and Acting Chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law. Before beginning her higher education career, she spent three years at Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans.
Dr. Davis received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor in 1984 and earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1992. She and her husband, Charles, have two children, Chad and Claire.