Walter A. Davis Service Award

Walter A. Davis Service Award

walter a davis wall


The Walter A Davis Citation has been presented each year since 1952 including 3 years with dual recipients.

Walter A 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 – Go Bulldogs! – and later in Covington, Indiana; through the army where he was able to create schools for service-members and veterans; and finally at Vincennes University 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. 

The Vincennes University Alumni Association is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation. If you know someone that has given outstanding service to our community and is a resident of the greater Vincennes area or a VU Alum please nominate them!



1952 Curtis G. Shake

1953 Oris H. Wright

1954 Edward H. Kuhn

1955 Robert W. Schultheis

1956 Marie C. Simon

1957 Joseph W. Kimmell

1958 Byron R. Lewis

1959 Raymond C. Beless

1960 Frank R. Sargent

1961 Dr. Charles W. Whitman

1962 Ruth E. Staninger

1963 Dr. C.P Fox

1964 John E. Welsh

1965 Carl L. Schaller

1966 Clarence J. McCormick

1967 Lyman H. Bell

1968 Adler M. Lyons

1969 Dale W. Courter

1970 H. Wallace Rutledge

1971 Dr. Frederic Spencer

1972 Woodrow W. Allen

1973 Rudi K. Wittrock

Marie Clark

1974 Ellis C. Madding

1975 Wyant Baker

1976 Robert E. Green

1977 Ross H. Garrigus

1978 Gerald J. Minderman

1979 Robert E. Gramelspacher

1980 Joseph V. Riley

1981 Dr. Isaac K. Beckes

1982 Ona F. Reitmeyer

1983 Bernard G. Niehaus

1984 Otis Kennedy Anderson

1985 Mary Gladys Wheeler

1986 Albert Rosenberg

1987 Herbert C. Pepmeier

1988 Dr. Joseph E. Humphrey

1989 William A. Niblack

1990 Horace A. Foncannon

1991 John Joseph Summers

1992 Dr. Louie 0. Dayson

1993 Rev. James T. Wheeler

1994 Robert V. Bierhaus

1995 Carroll C. Hamner

1996 Dr. Paul E. Brocksmith

1997 Donald G. Bell

1998 Walter L. Madden

1999 Barbara DeBoer

2000 Maridell M. Sargent

2001 C. James McCormick

2002 Judge Sidney Gelb

2003 Dr. & Mrs. Walter Vaughn

2004 Dr. Phillip M. Summers

2005 Shirley S. Rose

2006 James H. Gislason

2007 Robert A. Grumieaux

2008 Rabb Emison

2009 George S. Ridgway

2010 Frank S. Ladner

2011 Rexford C. Early

2012 Rowe D. Sargent

2013 Robert “Gus” Stevens

2014 Pat A. Summers

2015 John M. Lyons

2016 Dr. & Mrs. Richard Helton

2017 Honorable Jim R. Osborne

2018 Christina M. Ernst

2019 Phil Rath

2020 Dr. Daniel Combs

2022 Gazella A. Summitt

2023 Mark R. Lange

Gazella A. Summit


Gazella Summitt is a well-known figure across the Vincennes University community. Employed at VU for 45 years, she served as Secretary to President Issac K. Beckes, Affirmative Action Officer, and Director of Human Resources. Since retirement, Gazella has continued to remain active at the school 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. Gazella Summitt emerged a highly respected, successful Individual. She is a true Trailblazer.

Gazella 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, Gazella is most proud when speaking about her family. Gazella’s greatest achievements have always been shared with her late husband, Paul, and her children Krista and Dana.

walter A Davis


Walter A. Davis was born in 1882 near Princeton, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Indiana University, the latter in 1913. He taught in the Gibson county schools and later became a school administrator. He served as Superintendent of Schools at Bicknell, Indiana from 1907 to 1911 and held the same post at Covington, Indiana from 1912-1918. In 1918 he joined the United States Army and became Director of Educational Activities for the Army YMCA in San Antonio, Texas. After World War I, Davis remained in the Army until 1922, serving on the headquarter’s staff of the Eighth Army Corps. In this capacity he helped establish and supervise schools for servicemen awaiting discharge. Davis later conducted work in the rehabilitation and education of former soldiers.

Davis first came to Vincennes University in 1922 to head what was called the “Department of Rehabilitation.” The following year he became a professor of education and the head of the School of Education. In 1924 he was chosen by the Board of Trustees as President of Vincennes University. Davis then went on to lead the University through 25 years of change. In addressing the Board of Trustees, when announcing his resignation in May of 1947, Davis called attention to the fact that substantial gains had been made in obtaining adequate financial support, broadening and enriching the academic program, and enlarging and better equipping the educational plant. He also added that even greater improvements would be needed in the next few years. After accepting his resignation, the Board made Walter A. Davis President Emeritus of Vincennes University

2020 Walter A. Davis Citation Award Ceremony

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