William ‘Bud’ Davis, former university leader, dies at 92

Oct 13, 2021, 3:32 AM | Updated: 3:43 pm

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — William Eugene “Bud” Davis, who was a higher education leader in Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana as well as a college football coach and candidate for U.S. Senate, has died.

He was 92.

The Idaho State Journal reports that Davis, who died Sept. 24, became president of Idaho State University in 1965, just two years after the school gained university status. He was 36 years old, making him one of the youngest university presidents in the nation.

“We owe much to his leadership and dedication,” current ISU President Kevin Satterlee said in a statement. “Fifty years ago, he saw Idaho State’s potential and set us up for future growth and success.”

Davis oversaw the completion or start of more than $25 million in enhancement and construction projects that eventually doubled the building square footage on campus, officials said.

Davis took temporary leave from his position in 1972 to run for the U.S. Senate. While he won the Democratic nomination, he ultimately lost the race to Republican James McClure, who went on to serve three terms.

ISU’s Davis Field, which hosts women’s soccer and track and field events, is named in his honor.

Davis left ISU in 1975 to serve as the president of the University of New Mexico. He was later named chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education (1982-1988) and then chancellor of Louisiana State University from 1989 to 1997.

In addition to his educational career, Davis served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a platoon leader in Korea and Japan from 1952 to 1954.

He was also a prolific writer, producing nearly 200 published manuscripts, short stories, magazine articles, scholarly articles and biographies and nine books.

A former high school football coach, Davis in 1962 served as the interim football coach for the University of Colorado. The Buffaloes posted a 2-8 record that year.

A memorial service will be held for Davis and his wife, Pollyanne Peterson Davis, who died last year at the age of 91, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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William ‘Bud’ Davis, former university leader, dies at 92