VU Alumni Association to Honor Gazella Summitt With 2022 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation for Service

Walter A Davis Service Award Dinner Image

April 09, 2024

October 31, 2022

VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University Alumni Association will host an event on Saturday, Nov. 12, to honor Gazella Summitt and present her with the 2022 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation for Service.

Gazella Summitt
Gazella Summitt

Members of the VU Foundation & Alumni Office, VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, and the family and friends of Summitt will present the Citation at Green Activities Center on the Vincennes Campus. The Walter A. Davis Service Award Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. (ET) with dinner and refreshments to follow.

The Davis Citation has been presented each year since 1952. It is presented annually to a VU alumnus or a resident of the greater VU Community and recognizes civic leadership and contributions in addition to professional achievements.

To reserve tickets for the Walter A. Davis Service Award Dinner, please register with this link: Tickets are available through Nov. 9.

For those wishing to personally congratulate Gazella Summitt with cards, letters, and personal stories, please drop them off at the VU Foundation located at 1109 N. 3rd St. or mail them to the VU Alumni Association, 1002 North First Street, Vincennes, IN 47591.

 For more information or questions, contact Director of Alumni Engagement Aaron Selby at 812-888-5332 or


Beginning her career in 1960, Gazella Summitt has become a well-known figure across the Vincennes University community. 

Employed at VU for 45 years, she served under the administration of five VU presidents in various positions including Secretary to President Issac K. Beckes, Affirmative Action Officer for Phillip M. Summers, and Director of Human Resources during the terms of President Bryan Blanchard, interim John Gregg, and Dr. Richard Helton.

Since retirement, Summitt has remained active at the University through the VU Foundation & Alumni Association. Led by her desire for peace, equality, and fairness, she overcame gender and racial barriers with admirable grace and an undeniable positive attitude rooted in her faith. Summitt emerged as a highly respected and successful individual. She is a true Trailblazer.

Summitt has supported the community, state, and nation through numerous leadership roles and committee appointments with organizations such as the Vincennes Education Foundation, Federal Emergency Management Board, Vincennes Housing Authority, Generations, YMCA, United Way, Walk America, and the American Association of Affirmative Action. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by former Governor Evan Bayh, and a Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Mitch Daniels in recognition of her service to the state of Indiana. 

Through all of her achievements, Summitt is most proud when speaking about her family. Her greatest achievements have always been shared with her late husband, Paul, and her children, Krista and Dana.


The Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation for Service is named for former VU President Walter A. Davis. Davis spent his career dedicated to educational opportunities and community development in many roles including K-12 educator and school administrator; Superintendent of Schools in Bicknell, Indiana, and later in Covington, Indiana; through the Army where he was able to create schools for service members and veterans; and finally at VU where after spending two short years, his leadership was recognized by the Board of Trustees and he was appointed President of Vincennes University, a post he held for 25 years. Recipients of the honored award are selected by a committee representing the VU Alumni Association, VU Board of Trustees, VU Foundation, Vincennes community, and a past recipient.