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Dr. Elizabeth Davis named new president of Furman University

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Last updated February 6, 2014

By Furman News

Meet Furman’s new president

Watch recording of press conference to introduce Dr. Davis

The Furman University Board of Trustees announced today that it has unanimously approved the appointment of Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., as the 12th President of the University.

Dr. Davis, who currently serves as Executive Vice President and Provost of Baylor University in Texas, will begin her Furman presidency July 1.

“After careful consideration and a thorough national search, the Trustees were of one voice in saying that Dr. Elizabeth Davis should be Furman’s next President,” said Richard Cullen, chair of the Furman board. “She is a highly effective, strategic and visionary leader with a keen understanding of higher education and a commitment to the value and importance of liberal arts and sciences education.  We are excited that she is coming to Furman, and we are confident that she is the right person to lead the University forward.”

Davis has been Baylor’s Executive Vice President and Provost since July 2010.  As the university’s chief academic officer, she oversees the university’s 11 schools and colleges as well as more than a dozen research centers and institutes.

“I see wonderful opportunities at Furman to take the next step in its ascent to the ranks of the nation’s top liberal arts universities,” Dr. Davis said.  “The foundation laid by previous presidents is strong. The focus on rigorous academics, the commitment by a scholarly faculty and dedicated staff to providing an outstanding student experience inside and outside the classroom, a beautiful campus and a great city—all point to success.”

Davis’ responsibilities at Baylor include leading the university’s most recent strategic visioning process, managing a $235 million Academic Affairs annual budget, and overseeing a faculty of more than 935 members.  She is also a Professor of Accounting, and has been a member of the Baylor faculty since 1992.

Her other administrative roles at Baylor include serving as Vice Provost for Financial and Academic Administration (2004-2008), Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs (2003-04), and Acting Chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law (2000-2001).  She also served two years as Interim Provost (2008-2010) and, in 2012, assumed interim leadership of Baylor’s Development office while the university was searching for a new vice president.

During her time at Baylor, her teaching honors include receiving the Hankamer School of Business Teaching Excellence Award and the Mortar Board Circle of Achievement Award.

Davis’ scholarly work has appeared in leading journals, and she most recently co-authored the textbook, Managerial Accounting.  She is a recipient of the Lybrand Gold Medal awarded by Management Accounting.

“Dr. Davis is a productive scholar and a superb teacher,” said Joseph Pollard, Ph.D., professor of Biology and Chair of the Furman faculty who served on the Presidential Search Committee. “What is most impressive is her capacity to listen carefully, to reflect, and to bring consensus on strategic direction.”

Davis received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor in 1984 and earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1992. Before joining Baylor, she spent three years at Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans.

Davis is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco. She and her husband, Charles, have two children, Chad and Claire.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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Clinton Colmenares
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