Davidson College’s 19th President, Doug Hicks, Takes the Helm
Article by: Lisa Patterson
Davidson College welcomed—and welcomed back—Doug Hicks
“Davidson is my alma mater, and I am honored to return as president,” Hicks said in a message to the community. “It was here that I found my love of ideas and sense of purpose, thanks to inspiring faculty and incredible classmates. I could not be more enthusiastic about Davidson’s future anchored in our enduring educational mission.”
Hicks brings experience as a teacher, scholar, provost and dean, having held leadership roles at some of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges. He most recently served as dean of Oxford College, at Emory University, a highly selective, liberal arts institution focused on the first two years of the undergraduate experience.
He has confronted an array of contemporary challenges in higher education and possesses a nuanced understanding of mission-driven liberal arts institutions—a combination that positions him well to meet this moment.
In his work at Oxford, Hicks drew from his training as a scholar of religion and economics with a focus on building a more just and equitable society. He is lauded by leaders in education for his efforts to bring a wide range of voices to the table, building community through collaboration and inclusion. He has forged new approaches to preparing students for careers in a complex and changing world and led initiatives that are in sync with Davidson’s priorities, including reckoning with historical ties to enslavement.
Hicks immediately started building connections across the Davidson community by peppering his first-week schedule with visits around campus, with trustees and with leaders in the Town of Davidson. He invited those on campus to join him for donuts and coffee this morning in—and outside—the Lilly Gallery.
Hicks earned an AB degree magna cum laude with honors in economics from Davidson College, a master of divinity degree from Duke University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in religion from Harvard University.
As a student at Davidson, Hicks played varsity baseball for a year, studied abroad in Madrid and developed lifelong relationships with mentors and friends. He wrote his honors thesis on poverty in Charlotte, and he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award as a senior.
“My story is just one example among many,” Hicks said. “We at Davidson are about educating people for lives of leadership and service, and in so doing, we are committed to shaping our world.”
The college announced Hicks’s appointment in April, following a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees. He succeeds Carol E. Quillen, who served Davidson for 11 years.