Katherine Davis: Miss Bowman Gray
Katherine Davis (1920-2013) started her career at the medical school,
formerly Bowman Gray School of Medicine, on Thanksgiving Day 1942. She began as secretary to Dr.
Herbert Vann, who was professor of anatomy and registrar for the school at that
time. She went on to become an administrative assistant to two former deans:
Dr. Coy Carpenter and Dr. Manson Meads. She also worked in the Office of
Development and Alumni Affairs. And she helped write Miracle on Hawthorne Hill with Dr. Meads. Her quiet, yet helpful
and caring, demeanor made her popular with students and faculty.
Thomas Simpson, MD Class of 1957, and Katherine
share a smile at the Medical Alumni reunion on November 9, 1979.
Katherine doing her usual … helping and smiling. Date
Dr. M. Robert Cooper, who remembered Katherine
when he was a student here, 1958-1962: One
of affection. We knew that she ran the medical school and that she was such a
quality individual. She was always so professional and yet she was very
helpful. If you needed to know something you could go to Katherine and she
would make sure that you got the information that you needed.
Not only was Katherine helpful and happy, she
was also good at documenting, as seen in this handwritten note explaining what
it is she is transferring to the Archives.
Katherine being honored in 1972 with a plaque at
the MD Alumni Banquet.
Showing happiness at the June 25, 1998 Richard
Janeway Clinical Sciences Tower dedication with Dr. Eben Alexander, professor
of neurosurgery (left) and Dr. Manson Meads, dean of medical school 1963-1971
and professor of internal medicine.
McCreight, anatomy professor, was interviewed in 1979 by Katherine for his oral
history. He shares this: First I'd like to say that of
all people that I could be interviewed by,
Katherine Davis is my favorite. I feel that you are truly Miss Bowman Gray and know
more about the school than anyone else. p. 1, April 9, 1979
first memory here includes Katherine, as he states: When I arrived
I went, of course, to the main office, and I believe one of the first people I
talked to was Katherine Davis, and with the aid of a listing in the Dean's
office she and her assistants were able to find me
lodging with the Hoots family down on Eden Terrace where I lived for the next
three years. It was very fine that I didn't even have to put up at a hotel or
April 9, 1979
Katherine (second from right) in 1948 when she
served as secretary to Dr. Coy Carpenter. She is at an alumni meeting with
(L-R) Dr. Herbert M. Vann, anatomy professor and registrar; Nell Benton,
librarian; Katherine; and Alice Stallings, secretary to Dr. Vann.
Katherine with George Jones in July 1990 sitting
in the Coy C. Carpenter Library’s director’s office. George started as chief
engineer with the school in 1947; he died in 2007.
Plyler, director of purchasing, said in her oral history that Katherine did
purchasing prior to the school having a department. She recounts Katherine
here: Katherine Davis is a legend here. She was the person that
you looked up to. There were very few women in any management position at
Bowman Gray School of Medicine when I came here. There were no directors of
anything. When I became purchasing agent, Katherine was the person that I would
go to if there were something that I was uncomfortable with or anything. You’ve
got to have somebody at some point in time to talk to. I respect Katherine.
She’s a fine lady. She got me involved in the Pilot Club, which is a
businesswoman’s club. You had to be invited to join and they limited the number
of people that could be in a profession. It was an honor to be asked to join
that. The Pilot Club sponsors the Anchor Club in high schools. The Anchor Club
at Griffith School started when I was a sophomore and I was a charter member.
That was a great tie.
9, December 2, 2004, Martha Plyler Oral History #1
Dr. Sherrill Hudspeth, cardiothoracic surgery,
says in his oral history that Katherine almost knew him before he arrived as a
student in 1949: I
can tell you the person that I think helped me more than anything else, and
probably might well be the reason that I got into medical school, was Katherine
Davis. I’ll bet she doesn’t remember that. She was very kind to me when I came
here. She knew my background and stuff.p. 9, September 4, 2002, Sherrill Hudspeth
Oral History #1
Katherine and company looking at the model
expansion of Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1965. Alumni Council members are
(L-R) Drs. Vernon W. Taylor; Manson Meads, dean of the school; Jean Bailey
Brooks; Julian Keith, president of the Medical Alumni Association; Joseph B.
Alexander, Jr.; H. Kent Bennett; and Katherine, secretary to the dean.