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Skidmore College
Skidmore Retirees

Nancy B. Davis

Nancy B. Davis, a longtime member of Skidmore’s physical education faculty, died March 13, 2013, in North Kingstown, R.I. She was 90.

Born September 9, 1922, in Highland, California, the daughter of the Rev. Charles and Gertrude Davis, Nancy grew up in Wakefield, Massachusetts. She enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and earned a B.S. degree in physical education in 1944. She went on to earn a master’s degree at Smith College and continued graduate study at Boston University, Ithaca College, and the State University of New York.

Nancy taught at the University of Maine and the University of Maryland before joining the Skidmore community in 1948 as an instructor in physical education. In 1982 she was named professor, the title she held until her retirement in 1987.

During her Skidmore career Nancy demonstrated a strong commitment to her students, to developing her skills as a teacher, and to the field of physical education.  In 1985 Skidmore’s Alumni Association recognized her with an Outstanding Service Award and noted, “Because of her skill as an instructor—particularly in working with beginners—she has earned the respect of her students, who have cited her patience, enthusiasm, and encouragement. As an advisor, she worked closely with senior physical education majors on their independent study projects.”

She was active in several professional organizations including the Eastern Association for Physical Education of College Women, which twice recognized her: in 1979 she received its Merit Award, and in 1987 she received its Honorary Membership Award. In both instances the organization cited Nancy’s devotion as a teacher and mentor and her commitment to the profession.

Beverly Becker, professor emerita of physical education and longtime department chair, recalled Nancy’s connection to students. “When alumni return to the campus and visit the department, they ask for Nancy first and foremost. Her ability to blend theory and practice, individualize instruction and set high but attainable standards enabled students to accomplish far more than they initially felt capable of achieving.”

Upon Nancy’s induction into the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, Bev said that her distinctive, humanistic approach to mentoring students and young faculty set her apart in the field. "Nancy didn't just teach subject matter; she taught individuals through physical education," said Bev.

An avid golfer, Nancy was a longtime member of the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club.

Nancy is survived by her twin sister, Barbara Roberts of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, as well as niece Nancy Roberts Ransohoff of Santa Barbara, California, and nephews Brad Davis of San Diego, California, Toby Roberts of Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Charles Roberts of North Kingstown, Rhode Island.