press release


Delmer Dewey Award for Outstanding Senior Male given to William "Billy" Davis

for release: May 20 , 2010

MONMOUTH – Billy Davis has a story that’s quite different from many college students of this era. He earned his transfer degree at Chemeketa Community College over the course of three years, before completing his bachelor’s in communication studies from WOU, for a six year journey toward a four year degree. Looking back on all the sacrifices and hard work he had to put in to leave college debt-free, if Davis had to do it over, he "pleads the fifth."

Davis, this year’s Delmer Dewey Award recipient for outstanding senior male, managed to not only leave debt-free, he worked full-time to do so and participated in a number of extra curricular activities. These activities included Legacy Hospice, Monmouth Independence Tenants Union, Oregon Pioneer Political Action Committee, Associated Students of Western Oregon University Senate, Communication Club, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, Model United Nations, Professional Disc Golf Association, and drumming in an original rock band. Not to mention Davis maintained a 4.0 grade point average, commuted from McMinnville, and grows his hair out in order to cut it and donate it to Locks of Love annually.

For two consecutive terms, Davis woke up early Sundays in an attempt to complete the next week’s school work before his full-time graveyard job at Wal-Mart and (barring occasional one-hour naps in his car) stayed up through production of the Western Oregon Journal late Tuesday evening. Although he’s happy to be debt-free, he’s not sure it was worth the sacrifice and harm to his health.

“This truly has taught me to move beyond myself and realize that I cannot do everything alone. It’s been simultaneously liberating and crushing to see what I can and cannot accomplish, experiencing the numerous situations and circumstance that have delayed my completion–my life," he said, adding, "It took a village to get my degree."

One of Davis’ passions is communication, which began at Chemeketa and continued once he got to WOU and took courses with Dr. Molly Mayhead and Dr. Emily Plec, professors in the Communication Studies Department.

“Billy Davis is exactly the type of student WOU says it serves. [He] came to WOU hungry for knowledge and needing an outlet for his creative and intellectual talents. He is leaving our campus a well-educated young man who will use his knowledge and skills to continue to make a difference in his community,” said Mayhead.

Davis also recognized the necessity and power of politics and has even begun working in Oregon’s political arena. He hopes to run campaigns for progressive candidates and issue campaigns. One of his past experiences involved writing a “quick-and-dirty, how-to guide" of running for local, non-partisan office. Davis’ professors believe he will be successful in anything he sets his mind to.

Emily Plec, associate professor of communication studies, said, “Billy’s academic performance in the Communication Department has been nothing short of stellar. He is one of the most intellectually capable and committed students I’ve ever encountered in more than seven years of teaching at WOU, and I am thrilled to be among his recommenders for graduate study in law. He is well-known around campus, though he has a quiet personality and reserved demeanor, as someone who is dependable, friendly, and always willing to pitch in and help out.” She added, “He also is a role model for other students by helping them see critical analysis as relevant to everyday experiences and demonstrating the skills and abilities that contribute to academic success.”

The Delmer Dewey Award, presented each year to the outstanding male student, is named for former Dean of Men Delmer Dewey, who died in 1953. The award was first presented in 1954. The award finalist was Brent A. Redpath.

billie davis

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