February 21, 2024

Dr. Bob Davis was surprised on the Monday before Thanksgiving break by a group of English 270 students who simply did not want to leave class for break. The reason, unknown to him at the time, was the students had a special surprise for him.

Dr. Davis’s class had created a 151 page book full of photos, individual poetry and other writings and letters to Davis, with each student having their own chapter in the book. It was then hard back bound and presented to Dr. Davis as a special thank you and a show of appreciation for all they have learned from him as well as his dedication to his students. In the front of the book was a dedication to the Davis family.

Keeping the surprise under wraps had its challenges, after Dr. Davis had a surprise of his own for the students by telling them they could leave early. Several of Dr. Davis’s fellow professors and former Witt English Chairperson Mimi Dixon and her husband, Kent, as well as Jennifer Ryan, ’19, and Christina Kniss Reynolds, the English Department Administrative Assistant, were scheduled to join the surprise, but after Dr. Davis informed the students they could leave early, they had to become creative to keep Dr. Davis in the room for nearly 40 minutes until the special guests arrived.

The students remained in the classroom, asking that Dr. Davis review soundscapes the students were preparing. After they ran out of discussion on that topic, one student resorted to suggesting the class do some spontaneous poetry. The class was able to keep Dr. Davis occupied until the special guests arrived, which added to the fun.

Dr. Davis was surprised by the book and seemed to genuinely enjoy the efforts of the students, who wanted to find a way to honor the professor so many call not only a teacher, but a friend.

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