PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Pine Bluff community is remembering a man they called a beacon of hope after the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff announced former Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence Davis Jr. passed away Saturday at the age of 85.
Dr. Davis served as the Chancellor Emeritus at UAPB for over 1991-2013, according to the University’s Museum and Cultural Center.
However, his relationship with the campus began before that when his father, Dr. Lawrence A. Davis, Sr. began his tenure at AM&N College, which is now UAPB as a teacher and later served as president and chancellor.
For Tamara Pace Glover who graduated from UAPB in 2009, she says she still remembers Dr. Davis Jr.’s impact he had on campus.
“When you have a chancellor who is very hands on, who comes to the classroom, we can have lunch with him and he shows up at these different events, it shows us what we can be as we graduate,” Glover said.
Current UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence Alexander says he succeeded Dr. Davis Jr. when his term came up, but he still followed in his footsteps when it came to bridging gaps with students.
“I see students and go to as many of their events as I can make it there and I think that is an example of what Dr. Davis gave us that he was an integral part of what the students did at the university,” Dr. Alexander said.
Dr. Alexander says Dr. Davis’s passion for UAPB never wavered and one of his favorite memories of him was at this year’s homecoming.
“He served as the grand marshal for the homecoming parade here at UAPB and that was a great delight to see,” Dr. Alexander said.
Kevin Crumpton is the Pastor for Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and says Dr. Davis Jr. was a founder of the church and a deacon who shared as much as he could to help Crumpton when he became the leader of the church.
“I will miss the wisdom, the knowledge he poured into me as a young pastor and just his presence,” Crumpton said.
Crumpton says he was able to say his final goodbye to Dr. Davis Jr. moments before he passed away.
“I thanked him for the advice he gave me. People have to give you the right of way. If they don’t give you the right of way then there’s nothing you can do about it,” Crumpton said.
Crumpton says Dr. Davis taught everyone a number of things, but the one that sticks out is empathy.
“He was definitely that guy, a man who had a heart of Gold,” Glover said.