Aggie Brings Current and Former Students Together to Make an Impact

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: April 09, 2010

A seed planted in a sharecropper's cotton field in Henrietta, Texas, nearly five decades ago grew into Ed Davis' ‘67 passion for education. Since 1993, Ed's career as chief fundraiser for the Texas A&M Foundation has reflected the value that this first-generation student places on the opportunities afforded through a good education. "Working in the cotton patch as a child, I knew that I wanted to find a different way to make a living. I remember my grandfather telling Dad that I was smart enough to go to college," Ed says. "At the time, only one in 10 of my classmates would graduate from high school and continue their education. Grandfather told Dad to make sure I was one of them." It was Aggie vocational agricultural high school teacher, Perry Woods, who inspired Ed to make the 250-mile trek to Texas A&M University. "Mr. Woods served in the Korean War. He was serious and older than many of our high school teachers, but he cared about kids.

He was the advisor of the local FFA chapter, and he motivated me to develop as a leader," Ed says. "He is the reason that I came to Texas A&M." Ed earned three degrees from Texas A&M, including a bachelor's in agricultural journalism and master's and doctoral degrees in educational administration. After four years in the Army, Ed returned to work at Texas A&M while staying active in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served his country with distinction and retired as a colonel from the Reserve. Prior to his time with the foundation, Ed held several key financial positions, including chief financial officer at the university and chief operating officer at the Texas A&M University System. Described as a visionary, Ed's accomplishments speak volumes about his commitment to Texas A&M.

Under his leadership, over $2 billion dollars has been raised to support students, faculty and programs at Texas A&M, and during the foundation's seven-year One Spirit One Vision campaign, which ended in 2006, over 1,700 student scholarships, 117 graduate fellowships, 69 faculty chairs and 62 professorships were created. "I have the best job in the world. I help bring former and current students together to reinvest in Texas A&M," Ed says. Although much of Ed's career has kept him busy in the boardroom, his heart always seems to lead him back to the classroom. "I have filled many different roles in my career - student, solider, chief executive officer and others, but there is one consistent role that I have performed throughout these many experiences, and that is the role of teacher," Ed says. With an appointment as a professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Ed teaches graduate courses in higher education management and financial operations. Respected for his intellect and creativity, it is Ed's compassion, humility and sense of humor that compel many Aggies to call him friend. "Ed has the quality to be successful anywhere. I am so glad that he decided to become an educator," says Dean Doug Palmer. "His life's work has been to support students and faculty, elevate the university, and advance higher education in Texas.

We will probably never fully understand the tremendous impact he has made here, but we know that we're better off because Ed is a member of the Aggie family." We think that Mr. Woods would be very proud.