Dean Emerita Loda Mae Davis Endowed Award


AVC/Dean of Students D01164


Undergraduate Student Support

History and Purpose:

Dean of Women, Emerita
Associate Dean of Students, Emerita
Assistant Professor Emerita

In October 1953, Loda Mae Davis came to the University of California, Riverside as Dean of Women. UCR had not yet opened. She was 56 years of age and already had had several careers. With the new Dean of Students, Thomas L. Broadbent, Associate Dean of Students Loda Mae Davis shaped the future for students of UC Riverside, not only for its women but also for the general student body. She retired in 1964 and lived in Riverside until her death in 1989.

A native of Washington State, Davis was one of two daughters of pioneer homesteaders. The two sisters worked to support their education, and Davis graduated from UC Berkeley in 1923 with honors in commerce, followed by a masters of science in business and a junior college credential in 1932. Graduate work in Berkeley in psychology preceded her appointment at Riverside in 1953.

Davis traveled as a single woman throughout the world: 1934 in Panama and Mexico; 1935 in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the USSR (Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev), Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, to the Arctic Circle, back through Canada; 1937 in China (Shanghai, Hangchow, Canton, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and Japan. The coming of World War II gave her other travel opportunities, as did a 1960 sabbatical which she spent in Samoa.

In 1936, Davis worked for the Works Project Administration. In 1940, she became a consultant to the Consumer Division of the National Council of Defense, a job which led to her becoming the head of the first field staff of the Office of Price Administration. She has recorded how she traveled all over the United States to educate the public on the need to cooperate with the federal rationing and price control program.

The Prytanean Society, a women's honor society, established the Loda Mae Davis Endowed Award in 1964 to honor the memory of UCR's First Dean of Women. Davis firmly believed in sexual equality and created policies that contributed to that ideal. She made UCR the first campus in UC to allow women students the same dormitory privileges that men had always enjoyed. She also fought for women faculty to have the same membership rights as the men faculty. Many male students of her personal and social adjustment course called her "too liberal." Colleagues report that she often said the University was "the most sexist place she had ever worked," although she claimed she was not a feminist.

This award is given to a graduating female undergraduate student for outstanding participation in campus life and leadership in student organizations. In addition to a cash award, each awardee receives an individual plaque, and an inscription on UCR's perpetual plaque.

Selection and Guidelines:

This fund will be given to a female senior with outstanding participation in campus activities and leadership in student organizations. The recipient must have a cumulative 3.2 GPA at the time of application.

Request for Information:

Joe Virata
Assistant Dean of Students