Roderick J. McDavis

President Roderick J. McDavis

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McDavis honored with University of Arkansas Legacy Award

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis was honored as a legacy award recipient Monday at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

McDavis is receiving the Silas Hunt Legacy Award for his term as dean of the College of Education and Health Professions and professor of counselor education at the university from 1989-1994 – the first African American dean in the institution's history.

"I am deeply humbled by this honor and to be welcomed into the company of the other truly distinguished recipients of the Silas Hunt Legacy Award," McDavis said during a public reception in his honor. "I thank the University of Arkansas for this acknowledgement and for entrusting me with upholding the inspirational legacy established by Silas Hunt. I also am grateful to the students, faculty and staff of Ohio University who have worked with me as we pursue a shared vision that lifts up diversity in all its forms."

The Silas Hunt Legacy Award – created in honor of the first African American student to attend the University of Arkansas – recognizes African Americans whose significant achievements contribute to society. McDavis will join three additional Silas Hunt Legacy Award recipients during an official presentation gala this spring.

"The honorees embody the spirit of Silas Hunt," said University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. "They have touched lives throughout their careers but also have made an indelible mark on our university."

During Monday's reception, Gearhart pointed to McDavis' achievements and contributions to the university and higher education as evidence deserving of the award.

"Upon his arrival at the University of Arkansas, Roderick McDavis set a high standard for the students, faculty and programs of the College of Education and Health Professions, a standard he continued to raise during his tenure as dean on this campus," Gearhart said. "For his contributions to both this university and to higher education in general, President McDavis is an exemplary candidate to receive the Silas Hunt Legacy Award. The creation of the award honors the memory of Silas Hunt and recognizes what his courage has meant for those who continue to advance the trail he first blazed."

Recipients of the award participate in a year-long celebration, which began with the academic year last fall, interacting with students and faculty through on-campus lectures and various community events.

McDavis has served as a consultant and keynote speaker for universities, community colleges, public school systems, human service agencies, professional associations, community organizations and churches. 

In 1995, he was named Person of the Year in Education by the Gainesville Sun. He was named the 1996 Outstanding Alumnus of the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education and Human Services at Ohio University. He also received the 1997 Black Achiever's Award in Education from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators.

In 2008, McDavis founded The Interlink Alliance, a coalition of historically black colleges and universities and Ohio University, for the purpose of developing and preparing African American students to learn, live and lead in the 21st century.