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Coming Together: Conversations at Davidson College

by | Apr 4, 2023

The Honorable Anthony Foxx ’93 and Mary Tabb Mack ‘84 joined Professors Patricio Boyer, Hilary Green, Kristi Multhaup, and President Doug Hicks ’90 to discuss how Davidson’s past and present can shape our future, and how we prepare for the changing nature of work and society.


The college held a series of special events around the occasion of the inauguration. On Thursday, Davidson announced plans for a memorial, With These Hands, to honor the enslaved and exploited workers who built and served the college in its early days. Later Thursday, Hicks led a panel discussion with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and architectural firm Perkins&Will, who have partnered to create the memorial.

On Friday morning, Hicks led a panel of experts for a lively talk about the college’s future, touching on themes of history, memory—and hope. As it wrapped up, he asked each panelist what gave them hope.

“My hope for the future is based on the students I see every day,” said Hilary Green, the James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies. “They do the work to make a more inclusive, more just Davidson. I’m around people who want to build a better future.”

Foxx, a panelist who served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, paused before answering.

“Mr. President,” he said to Hicks, “You give me hope.”

Foxx talked about getting a text from his classmate and best friend from Davidson, Joe Cook, the day after trustees announced Hicks’ selection.

“Joe and I could not have been more different. I was from Charlotte; he was from Indianapolis. He was pretty conservative, I’m pretty not conservative,” Foxx deadpanned. “Just about every way that we could be different, we were different, but we were brothers.”

Foxx learned that Cook and Hicks went to the same church as kids, and that Cook went to Davidson because he respected Hicks so much. “Inspired choice,” the text said.

“You see the shadows being cast from the life you’ve led,” Foxx said. “I’m very hopeful that somewhere in the cacophony of where we are as a culture and society, your heart, your mind, your scholarship, your leadership is going to get us to a better place.”


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