Walter A Davis Service Award
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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!

Previous Recipients of the Walter A Davis Award

  • 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
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Passionate about the history of Vincennes, a retirement project is writing a book about the history of Vincennes. The book includes historical photos of Vincennes that he has collected over the years and recounts the growth and development of Vincennes through the stories of his patients.

Dan currently serves on the Knox County Board of Health, is an active member of the Vincennes Rotary Club. He is a long-time supporter of Vincennes University, and was awarded the VU Pacemaker Award. He was married to his wife Katherine Combs for nearly 40 years and has three children, Randy of in Milan, Indiana, Steve who is the current principal of Vincennes Lincoln High School, and Elizabeth Lee of San Antonio, Texas as well as nine grandchildren.

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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

Vincennes University Alumni Association
2022 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation Nomination Form

The Vincennes University Alumni Association is soliciting nominations for the 2022 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation.  All University alumni and friends are eligible to make nominations at any time, however deadline for 2022 award nominations is Aug 14, 2022.  2022 award nominations must be received by the Director of the VU Alumni Association by 4:30 pm (EDT) on Aug 14, 2022.  Late and/or incomplete nominations will be considered for the 2023 award. 

Since 1952, the Memorial Citation has been presented to persons who have given outstanding service to their community.  Recipients must either be a graduate of Vincennes University or a resident of the greater Vincennes area (approximately a 45 mile radius).  Recipients are selected by a committee representing the VU Alumni Association, VU Board of Trustees, VU Foundation, Vincennes community, and a past recipient of the Walter A. Davis Award.  Visit for a list of previous Citation recipients.

Complete this form and deliver any supporting material to the VU Alumni Association, 1002 North First Street, Vincennes, Indiana 47591, fax it to 812/888.5942, or send via email scan to  For questions, please call 812-888-4354.

Should the nominee be chosen to receive the award, office staff will notify the nominee only.  All nominations are considered confidential and will not be shared with the nominee.  This nomination form should be accompanied by: letters of recommendation from the nominator(s) and other supporting materials (resume, additional letters of recommendation, news articles, etc).

Nominator Information - Please type or print clearly
Date of Birth * (for record verification purposes only)
Date of Birth * (for record verification purposes only)
Phone Type
Phone Type
Mailing Address *
Mailing Address *
Nominee Information
Mailing Address *
Mailing Address *
Phone Type
Phone Type
PLEASE NOTE:  A detailed biographical profile and letters of support are required. Nominees will NOT be considered without a detailed biographical profile and letters of support.

2020 Walter A. Davis Citation Award Ceremony

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