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Rodney O. Davis, longtime teacher and scholar, widely recognized for his research on Abraham Lincoln, passes away.

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Pantone color swatches in the lobby of Ford Center for Fine Arts.

Celebration of Life for Rodney O. Davis

A memorial gathering for colleagues, friends, and family will be held on Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m. at Knox College.

Rodney O. Davis, longtime teacher and scholar, widely recognized for his research on Abraham Lincoln, passes away.

A memorial gathering for colleagues, friends, and family of Rodney O. Davis will be held on Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m. in Kresge Recital Hall in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts on the Knox College campus.

Davis, Szold Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History and co-founder of Knox's Lincoln Studies Center, passed away Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

Individuals attending the gathering are asked to RSVP by Monday, February 17, at or by calling the Knox College Office of Alumni Relations at 309-341-7238. View a list of area  accommodations.

Davis first came to Knox College in 1963 and developed a groundbreaking program in American Studies that brought together faculty from disciplines across the College, including the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Revered as a teacher by students and faculty alike, he always had a keen academic interest in the places where he lived and their relationship to larger national and world developments. He was a member of the Organization of American Historians, the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Abraham Lincoln Association.

After retiring from teaching, Davis founded the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox with Douglas L. Wilson. Together, they directed the center and collaborated on a series of books about Abraham Lincoln published by the University of Illinois Press. These included a new edition of the texts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (2008) and the landmark   Herndon’s Informants  (1998), a definitive collection of interviews with Lincoln’s contemporaries that has become an essential primary resource for Lincoln biographers. Read more about Davis' career.

To celebrate Davis' dedication to Knox students as well as his years of scholarship on the third floor of Old Main, the Davis family requests that   memorials be directed to Knox College to support the renovation of the student study lounge in Room 306 of Old Main, which will be named in his honor.

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Printed on Wednesday, April 8, 2020