Purdue News

2005 Honorary Degree

Leroy Davis
Doctor Of Science

Leroy Davis

Leroy Davis has distinguished himself as a university president capable of taking his alma mater to the next level of excellence.

Davis' career at South Carolina State University began long before his retirement from service in 2002 as its eighth president. In 1979, Davis joined the ranks of the biology department as assistant professor and became full professor in 1985.

He then began his ascent through the administrative ranks. After serving as director of the Office of Institutional Self Studies, he became vice provost for academic administration. He then was named vice president for student services and interim president before assuming the presidency in 1996.

Born in Orangeburg, S.C, home of the university he served, Davis received his bachelor of science degree there in 1971. Davis then earned both a master's degree in microbiology in 1972 and a doctorate in molecular biology in 1979 from Purdue University.

Significant accomplishments during Davis' presidency include obtaining accreditation for three new programs and reaffirming accreditation of all academic programs, initiating a degree program in nuclear engineering, and establishing centers of excellence in both transportation and leadership. Davis also formed the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station, which received excellence awards from both Vice President Al Gore and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forestry Service. Davis' extraordinary achievements in fund raising helped underpin these and other capital initiatives.

Davis' honors include election to the New York Academy of Sciences, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Francis Marion University, Teacher of the Year Award and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from South Carolina State, Purdue University Old Masters Award, South Carolina Business Visitors Top 25 Influencers Award, and the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian award.

Davis has held membership and posts with numerous professional societies, boards and commissions. He remains active with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and presently serves on the Dean's Leadership Council in the College of Science at Purdue, where he received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003.