William Eugene (Bud) Davis, born February 15, 1929 in Wamego, Kansas, died September 24, 2021 at the age of 92. Bud grew up in rural Kansas and moved his family to Loveland, Colorado when he was 16 years old. In 1944, in Colorado, he met Pollyanne Peterson and immediately informed her that she would be his future wife. Bud graduated from Loveland High School in the spring of 1947 and followed Polly to the University of Colorado. Seven years after arriving in Colorado, Bud and Polly were married on March 17, 1951. Bud earned a BS in Physical Education and English in May 1951 and joined the US Marine Corps in 1951. Bud attended Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and served platoon as a platoon leader in Korea and Japan from 1952-1954.
Bud was an English teacher and trainer in Loveland, Colorado, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Greeley, Colorado from 1954 to 1959. His athletics team won the 1955 Colorado State Championship and his football team won the 1959 Colorado State Championship. He received his masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1959 and returned to the University of Colorado in 1960 to serve as its alumni director for his doctoral degree in higher education. Bud was hired as a CU soccer coach in March 1962. After the season he was named Dean of Men. After receiving a PhD in higher education in 1963, he was hired as the President’s Executive Assistant for Student Affairs at the University of Wyoming at Laramie.
Two years later, at the age of 36, Bud was named President of Idaho State University in Pocatello, where he served for 10 years. In 1972 he retired from his academic post, ran for the US Senate and was nominated for the Democrats. He lost in a tight general election to Republican James McClure. Bud left Idaho State University to serve as President of the University of New Mexico from 1975-1982 and then Chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education from 1982-1988. In 1989 he was named Chancellor of Louisiana State University, where he served until 1997.
Bud was a prolific writer and produced nearly 200 published manuscripts, short stories, magazine articles, scholarly articles, and biographies during his career. He also published a total of nine books, including a two-volume definitive history of the University of Colorado, Glory Colorado (Volume One): A History of the University of Colorado, 1858-1963, and Glory Colorado (Volume Two): A History of the University of Colorado , 1963-2000. He also published Miracle on the Mesa: A History of the University of New Mexico. Bud had a wonderful sense of humor and often shared and laughed at his own experiences with deep humility. His humor, dedication to serving others, and his joys and adventures as a father are beautifully portrayed in his collection of short stories published in his book Nobody Calls Me Doctor.
In death, Bud’s wife Pollyanne Peterson Davis, father Eugene Davis, mother Willa Davis, daughter Bonnie Davis and daughter-in-law Melanie Crane Davis precede. Bud is survived by his brother Jim Davis and his wife Martha Davis; his daughters Deborah Davis Walker, Rebecca Davis Toevs, and her husband Thomas Toevs and Brooke Davis; his son Douglas Davis and wife Jill Cabrera Davis and son-in-law Arthur Walker; his granddaughters Sierra Davis, Whitney Loveland and her husband Ryan Loveland, Courtney Woodard and her husband Weston Woodard and Niquel Toevs; and his four great-grandchildren, Madison Loveland, Preston Loveland, William (Liam) Loveland, and William Davis Woodard.
A memorial service for Bud and Polly will be held on Friday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) at Central United Methodist Church, 201 University Blvd. held. Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Reminders are welcome on the Neptune Society website (https://obituaries.neptunesociety.com/obituaries/alburquerque-nm/william-davis-10371796) and personal messages can be sent to the family at [email protected] Instead of flowers, please consider sending a gift to commemorate Bud and Polly of the UNM Presidential Scholarship Program. Commemorative donations can be made to the UNM Foundation, Presidential Scholarship, Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd. sent. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102 or online at https://www.unmfund.org/fund/memorials-tributes/. (Please include a note stating who your gift is a reminder.)
Published in the Idaho State Journal on October 8, 2021.