Remembering Albion Community Philanthropist Bud Davis

April 2, 2020

Albion College President Mauri Ditzler recently emailed the following message to alumni and friends in the City of Albion and the surrounding community.

Dear Friends,

The philanthropy of Olivia and Bud Davis will be felt in the Albion community and at Albion College for many years to come.

I’m writing to you and other alumni and friends here in our host community to pass along a pair of important messages.

First, I hope you are doing everything you can to stay safe and healthy during this extraordinary time. A week ago, Albion College closed its campus to comply with Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order. The week before that, we moved our classes online. We are continuing to do everything we can at the College to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

The second message I want to share with you is something you may have already heard about. Bud Davis passed away on March 19, rejoining Olivia, his beloved wife of nearly 72 years (and whom most of us fondly knew as Ruby), after her passing last summer. Each was a dear friend of Albion College and together they were a powerful philanthropic force in this community. To put it simply, Ruby and Bud loved Albion.

Bud graduated from Washington Gardner High School in 1939 and served in the Army in Europe during World War II (Ruby served as well, in the Navy WAVES in Mississippi). When he returned to his hometown, he moved from banking to industry, eventually rising to vice president and treasurer of Albion Industries, and president and treasurer of Sheridan Industries.

A member of Albion College’s Board of Trustees from 1973–1982, Bud’s connection to the College—and to his community—only continued to deepen. Among the Davises’ many generous gifts to the College was the lead gift in 2015 that spurred the creation of the Davis Athletic Complex, featuring revamped facilities for baseball and softball, a brand-new lighted facility for soccer and lacrosse, and an inviting plaza tying together the entire project.

But perhaps the most monumental gift from Bud and Ruby was the one that kick-started the renovation of the Bohm Theatre. When it reopened in 2014, the Bohm also officially became The Davis Center for Film and Performing Arts—that one philanthropic work of art helped ignite the revitalization of our downtown, and in turn, Albion itself.

I got to meet Bud and Ruby a few times during my time here as the College’s president, and I had the honor to present them the Briton Medallion for their generosity and service to the institution at our graduation ceremony in 2015. The year before that and the year after that, their Albion pride took on new dimensions when their grandsons received their Albion degrees.

While our current public health situation and its impact on Albion College is taking up nearly all of my time right now, occasionally I allow myself a moment to remember that my presidency is nearing its conclusion. When I do have those moments, the first thing I think about are the people I have had the privilege of getting to know along the way. Bud and Ruby Davis gave so much of themselves to this town and this College, and it’s so heartening to know that their impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

Mauri Ditzler
President, Albion College