January 17, 2007 | By: Aimee Nielson

Former Dean of Instruction for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the late Joe Davis will be remembered forever in the college with the unveiling of his portrait in late December. 

Davis’ longtime colleague and friend, retiring UK Agricultural Economics Professor Loys Mather said it has been his personal goal to honor Davis in this manner.

“I was on the search committee, in fact chair of the search committee, that brought Joe to UK,” said Mather, who will soon retire from the college. “So I got to know him right away from the start. We immediately became close working colleagues because our work areas were very close, but in addition became very close personal friends.”

Davis came to the college in 1974, joining the faculty in agricultural economics. His emphasis was livestock marketing. He served as the associate dean of instruction in the College of Agriculture from 1994 until his death in 2003.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of Davis’ work at UK were the students. Davis enjoyed interacting with students every day. UK College of Agriculture Dean Scott Smith said everyone enjoyed working with Davis.

“He was a tremendous leader and an innovator,” he said. “Joe was a very supportive person for our students and I’m sure that many of them will come back in 30 and 40 years and tell stories about him.”

Former UK College of Agriculture Dean Oran Little attended the unveiling and recalled memories of Davis.

“Many times while Joe was in that office, various employers would come to me and say “your students are the best prepared of any place we do any interviews,” and I think that’s the kind of tribute we owe to Joe Davis,” Little said. 

The portrait will hang alongside those of other former academic deans in the Agricultural Science Center North on the UK campus.