Remembering Ross Davies
After a beautiful song by Jim Kelly, Tom Wilfrid opened the memorial ceremonies on Oct. 22 for faculty member Ross Davies, who died in early October.
The Studio Theatre provided an appropriate setting, with overhead television-studio lighting equipment reminiscent of the much-loved teacher of television production. Davies' mother, sister and children attended the ceremony, which was packed with students, faculty and staff members.
Tom Wilfrid thanked and welcomed all "for coming to remember our good friend and colleague, Ross Davies, and to celebrate his life and work with us.... As most of you know, Ross waged a courageous bout with cancer over the past several years... He wanted to be with his students and did not want to give up or give in... He was truly devoted to his students."
Wilfrid read a resolution passed by the Board of Trustees commending Ross Davies for his work at Mercer for more than 6 years.
Referring to the studio theatre, Bob Terrano said, "This is Ross's studio.... You could hear a pin drop as his students listened to his every word... You could see the ease with which he shared his knowledge and skills with his students. As he told me 'I belong in the classroom. It is my job. It gives me my energy.'"
Luci McElhenny, who introduced those who spoke, said. "Ross was a very close friend of mine and I am honored to participate in this celebration."
Dr. Michael Smith, professor of communications at LaSalle University, spoke about Ross, who was pursuing his master's degree there. "I know Ross was a good teacher because he talked about you all the time," he said. "I am pleased to announce that Ross has been awarded his M.A. degree in communications." He presented the certificate to Ross's mother.
Mel Leipzig said he admired and liked Ross so much he wanted to paint him, which he did. He gave the study for his painting to Ross's mother, and gave reproductions to Ross's sisters.
Alvin Haywood said Ross "had a lot of hope... about his students, life and the life of this institution. We know that love is eternal, timeless and deathless and we are part of that. I know that the energy is right here because that love is like a magnet." Haywood asked all who wanted to say a few words about Ross to participate, as he handed around the microphone.
Donna Munde commented that students respected Ross and cared about him, and it was mutual. "There was a humility about him that I appreciated," she said.
Mitch Canter related how Ross recruited him to teach at Mercer. "Ross had an incredibly sharp, dry sense of humor that we really loved."
Some student comments:
"Four years ago Ross was my professor and became my friend. From the first day of class he inspired me to be all that I could. He was always there with support and encouragement. He has been an inspiration to me and I will never forget him."
"After one semester with Ross I wanted to get into television. Every semester after that I was in Ross's class. He always took the time out to talk to me."
"We always had the best time in his classroom. When I think of Ross I think of his dedication as a teacher. He made me want to be the best that I could be. Ross had a great sense of humor."
"I looked forward to coming to class every day and will always remember him."
"Ross had faith in his students even though we didn't have faith in ourselves. I feel I lost a member of my family."
From an alumnus: "He was a great teacher. I model my teaching methods around his. He gave me a gift and I want to pass that on to my students."
Ross's sister Sharon spoke. She read a letter from her sister who couldn't be there. "I feel blessed to have had him as a brother."
During an emotional closing, in the candle lit theatre, Nick Anselmo and David Valentino performed "With Hope."