Gifts in Action -
MEET ROBERT DAVIS
Robert “Rob” H. Davis was a thespian scientist.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time
plays many parts."
Kent and Susanne Davis, cite Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”
Davis played many parts before he died of a bacterial infection at age
21. An integrative biology major, Rob was awarded a posthumous
bachelor’s degree by the University of Illinois in May 2008.
honor and memory of their son and brother, the Davis family has created
the Robert H. Davis Memorial Endowment Fund. Net income from the fund
will support an annual undergraduate research award to students in the
School of Integrative Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and
The awardee of The Robert H.
Davis Undergraduate Research Prize will exhibit significant academic
curiosity; have interests outside academia, such as arts, sports or
politics; and, because he or she must work to pay for college expenses,
has been unable to engage in undergraduate research. The Davis Prize is
intended to allow a student a semester or summer in a research lab
related to fields of study in the School of Integrative Biology or
The terms of the
Davis Prize reflect the multiple interests of Rob Davis. “He was our
son, brother to Kate and Emily, grandson, co-worker, and friend to
many,” said Kent Davis. “He won over everyone with his contagious
smile, crushing hugs and booming laugh,” added Susanne Davis.
and I have always tried to expose our kids to a wide range of
interests. We are both readers with many books in the house. We love
music, Shakespeare, movies, sports, church, etc. While we provided a
foundation, each of the kids has gone off and explored and developed
their own interests while retaining some but not all of those initial
interests,” said Kent Davis.
baseball, was active in Boy Scouts, listened to music ranging from rock
to classical, played the flute, bass and guitar, and was a passionate
student of science, history and literature, said his parents. He
enjoyed doing character impersonations while watching movies with his
father, telling jokes while cooking with his mother, and teasing and
laughing with his sisters.
graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Ill., and a
National Merit Scholar, Rob enjoyed reading, watching and acting in
Shakespeare plays. In the fall of his senior year at the U of I, he was
actively involved in the What You Will Shakespeare Company and acted in
While at Illinois, he
worked three years with the Illinois Emergency Medical Services team,
advancing to train new Emergency Medical Technicians. While at home,
Rob worked for Trace Ambulance in Tinley Park. “While it was at times
demanding and frustrating for him, Rob gained many good friends and
truly developed his sense of compassion and desire to help others in
need,” said Kent Davis.
And it is that
desire to help others that has spurred the Davises to establish an
award fund in Rob’s name at the University of Illinois, where his
sister, Kate, is a sophomore in Animal Science.
the death of your child, you have many regrets and fears. Among our
regrets is that Robert didn’t get a chance to make his impact on the
world at large; among the fears is that he will be forgotten, his name
not remembered,” said Kent Davis. “We hope that the endowment will
allow Robert’s name to ‘live on’ at the University that he loved so
much, and that perhaps it will make a small difference in another
student’s life, who will go on and make an impact on the world.”