Rod Davis

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John Roderick Davis (born July 15, 1936 in Guntersville, Marshall County; died April 1, 2023 in Birmingham) was dean of Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences from 1990 to 2001. He continued to serve as professor of English at Samford until he retired in 2012.

Davis graduated from Albertville High School. He then attended Howard College (now Samford University), from which he graduated in 1958. He went on to obtain a master of arts in English and from Boston University master of divinity from Yale University in 1963. He served as a Congregational minister in Connecticut before returning to the academy to obtain a Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia University in 1973. Prior to returning to Samford as dean, he taught for 20 years in the City University of New York's John Jay College.

As dean at Samford, he oversaw the creation of the departments of classics, philosophy, political science, and geography. Upon his retirement as dean in 2001 the J. Roderick Davis Lectures were established in Howard College in his honor.

When living in New York City he was an active member of the Riverside Church, and in Birmingham of Baptist Church of the Covenant.


  • "John Roderick Davis" obituary (April 8, 2023)