Ray Joseph Davis: A Life to 1949
Contributor: Chynna67 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
In 1949, word circulated among Mormon academics that BYU president Howard McDonald had resigned from office. Ray J. Davis, head of the biology department at Idaho State College, decided to throw his hat in the ring for the position. On October 18, he wrote the following in his letter of application:
"I was born at Provo, Utah, in 1895 of pioneer ancestry. My grandparents on the David side were members of the original colony that settled Provo, and my mother's parents, Broadbent, came from England to Provo soon after its settlement. I was reared on a farm at the edge of town and worked with my father until he died in middle life. I then ran the farm, helping to provide for my younger brothers and sisters until I left for a mission.
"Starting my formal education under Sister [Ida Smoot] Dusenberry in the kindergarten at the Brigham Young University, I graduated from the eighth grade, high school, and college there, later going back and doing graduate work. Two majors, agriculture and physical education, and a minor in the field of education constituted my undergraduate work. Later I attended the University of Wisconsin and received my Ph.D. degree in biology. Since then i have attended school at the University of Wyoming and Harvard University and have also done special research work at the National Herbarium in Washington, D.C.; the New York Botanical Gardens, New York City; and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
"I have published twenty-seven scientific articles and have a large book, _Flora of Idaho_, being corrected in manuscript form for the printers. A member of six scientific societies, I am listed in American Men of Science, Who's Who in Education in America, and Who's Who in the Northwest. my first teaching was in Utah at Beaver County High School; then I taught at Dixie College. While studying for my doctorate, I worked for the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture, and for the United States Department of Agriculture. After graduation, I was a staff member at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Virginia. My next position was Professor of Biology at Ricks College where I taught for six years; then I came to Idaho State College where I have been Professor of Botany and Head of the Botany Department until the present time.
"I have spent my summers in Utah and Idaho doing research on range conditions for the Forest Service, lecturing in Yellowstone Park as a naturalist, and collecting an herbarium of about fifty thousand plants.
"My church work has been varied. i have held office continuously in some church organization, except for the time I was attending school in Wisconsin where there was not any branch of the church, since I was twelve years old. I have filled two missions, one in the Southern States and one in California. While I lived in Provo, I was president of my Deacon and Teacher Quorums, a Sunday school teacher, secretary and assistant superintendent of the Sunday School organization, scoutmaster, and president of the Mutual Improvement Association. At Rexburg, I acted on the M.I.A. Stake Board, was ward Sunday school superintendent, and, and a scoutmaster. I continued church activities in Pocatello and became a Bishop's Councilor, a member of the Sunday school Stake Board. After serving for six years on the high council, I became bishop of the Pocatello second ward and continued in the capacity until last year. I have also assisted in the teaching of classes at the Institute located at Idaho State College.
"In community affairs I have also been active. I have twenty-seven years of service in the Boy Scouts of America, having held most of offices in this organization from Scoutmaster to Council President and Regional Committeeman. I am an Eagle Scout and have three sons who also hold this rank. i have also been awarded the Silver Beaver. For several years I served on the Pocatello Community Chest Board and was its president for two years. I have been president of the 'Pocatello youth Welfare Council' and State Secretary of the 'Idaho Pioneer Trails and Landmark Association.' For fifteen years I have been a member of the Pocatello Rotary club and last spring was elected to the Pocatello City Council.
"My wife is also a graduate of the Brigham Young University and was the first girl to be selected as Valedictorian at that school. She has taught school in the grades, high school, and college. She has served on the various ward and stake boards where women work, has been in the Presidency of the Stake Relief Society, President of the Stake Y.W.M.I.A. and Stake President of the Primary Organization. She filled a mission in the Northern States, then accompanied me on another one to California.
"We have four sons, two of whom are serving on missions at the present time: Hal, in the French mission, and Ray Jay, in the Mexican Mission. The eldest son served int he armed forces and graduated from college with honors before going on his mission. My third son, Lynn, was elected youth governor of Idaho at the Model legislature this year and represented this state at Washington, D.C., at the Youth Governor's conference last June. Our youngest boy is twelve years old.
"It is my firm conviction that the purpose of the Brigham Young University is to help develop primarily Latter-day Saints and to train them for leadership in the church as well as in the professions."