Beloved professor Charles Davies died in West Grove, PA, Christmas morning 2019. He was 85 years old.
As a Stranahan Professor of Family Business, Davies started teaching at Hillsdale College in January 1990. He taught at Hillsdale for 21 years until he retired in 2011 when he was granted professor emeritus status. He was an ordained Methodist minister and served in the clergy from 1956 – 69.
Davies was a well-known figure on campus, and to his former co-workers, Davies’ dedication to his faith was clear. He is remembered with love and deep respect by Professor of History Kenneth Calvert.
When Calvert arrived at Hillsdale in 1996, Davies reached out to him with “encouragement and kind advice.”
“I don’t recall ever seeing Charlie in a bad mood,” Calvert said. “His faith was evident as was his desire to see Hillsdale — both the college and the town — prosper.”
Davies’ loyalty and service to the Hillsdale community never went unnoticed. He formed life-long bonds with students, keeping in contact with many and even officiating the weddings of some.
“Dr. Davies was my favorite professor. He was a perfect blend of experience, education, and ethical sincerity,” Jacob Mannan ’04 said. “He was a man of his word, which made him easy to trust as a teacher and mentor.”
Along with the titles of professor, mentor, and co-worker, Davies earned another title: friend.
Though Davies expected a lot from his students, he gave encouragement and advice in return. Davies set the bar high for his students, pushed them to explore and discover their niche, and challenged them to live up to steep expectations. His classes weren’t “easy A’s,” noted Mannan, but through his personal experience, students found their passion.
His students attribute many of their successes, professionally and personally, to their former professor.
Heather Drebenstedt ’00 noted that Davies was “one of her favorite professors” and that he was “influential in my career as a marketing professional.”
Davies “had a way of bringing the real world into the classroom,” she said. “His lessons ring true to this day.”
Along with his duties as a professor, mentor, and friend on the Hillsdale campus, Davies also served on the Board of Public Utilities in Hillsdale. His unique dedication to serving the community was greatly admired by those who encountered it.
“Dr. Davies was Hillsdale, through and through,” Calvert said.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate Davies’ life in April at the Perrysburg First United Methodist Church. In his honor, the family asks that memorials be directed to the Chancel Choir Music Fund at Perrysburg First United Methodist Church or to Alzheimer’s research.