2012 Carver Medal awarded


by Mariah Young

Russell C. Davis has been selected as the 2012 Carver Medal Winner, which will be awarded at 7 p.m. on Feb.16 in Smith Chapel.

This annual award is given to someone who the Board of Trustees feels exemplifies George Washington Carver’s commitment to service while benefitting society.

Davis’s accomplishments include receiving the Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award and being a Tuskegee University Scholar to name a few. He is not only a decorated National Guard General, but he also has a personal connection to Carver.

“General Davis was chosen by the Board of Trustees because he has a strong Des Moines connection and several board members agreed he would be a great speaker,” said Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural events and national affairs. “His connection to Carver was also part of the draw for me.”

Growing up Davis had the opportunity to spend time with Carver while at daycare. This time spent with such a role model was fuel for Davis to strive for excellence in life.

“He was an exception during those times,” said Davis. “Carver had an experimental attitude, and was very inquisitive. I grew up in a very difficult time in the south when people put us down because of our race. I knew they were wrong because of what Carver was able to do.”

When Davis was informed that he was to be the 2012 Carver Medal recipient he was excited.

“They has called me and said I was being awarded and excitement welled up inside me,” Davis said. “I immediately called my family, my kids and grandkids.”

Davis wishes to share this excitement and other knowledge with not only African-American students on campus, but all students at Simpson College.

“I do a lot of mentoring and counseling for students,” Davis said. “Mostly because of my age, and being around in the military for so long. I teach them you must always be prepared, which has always worked particularly well for me. This kind of thing makes you stand out from the crowd.”

During the ceremony, Davis plans to talk about Carver’s role in his life, as well as growing up in the South during a controversial time. He is also bringing along a thank you letter from Carver written to his grandparents during this time.

Sophomore Shanice Whitney will read the proclamation during the Carver Medal ceremony.

“I consider this an honor,” Whitney said. “It is an honor because this medal has been given to very prestigious men and women in the African-American community and to be part of a ceremony where I can participate in congratulating one of them is a wonderful feeling.”

The importance of Carver’s legacy lives in Davis, and it is important to keep this in mind today.

“This event helps to recognize the contributions that blacks continue to make, not only in military, but other fields as well,” Lain said. “Simpson College pioneered the way for Carver during his time. The Carver Medal keeps the school relevant to what is going on in society.”

The Carver Medal ceremony is an event that is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend and recognize Davis as well as the other honorees.

In addition to the ceremony there will be a question and answer session at 2 p.m. on Feb. 16 with Davis in Burke Lecture Hall.