On a cold winter morning in 1972, a Baltimore woman says she remembers seeing an adorable Black boy featured on a TV show about children hoping to be adopted, “A Child Is Waiting.”
Four decades later, that same child recently took over as president of the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC), located in the Pittsburgh area of Monaca.
Roger Wilson Davis, 49, a Baltimore native, has enjoyed an illustrious career as an educator, including nine months as the college’s acting president, prior to being named to the top position in late February. The college’s nine-member board of directors unanimously elected him as their ninth president – the first Black to head the 53-year-old institution.
Genetha Woods-Short, an African-American board member, delivered the news during the February meeting. Davis says the excitement she exhibited took him by surprise.
“She was so choked-up with emotions, she could hardly make the announcement,” Davis said. “I’m so humbled and really excited about what the future holds for all of us.”
Davis grew up in the Woodmoor section of Baltimore County as a single child of his late father, Belford Davis and Marian Davis, 90. He describes his childhood as healthy and loving.
A meeting with his biological mother when he was 22, helped him secure answers to questions that had bothered him for years.
“She explained that she was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t raise four young children,” he said. “I told her I was OK and had no regrets or blame toward her and that God had led my path.”
While attending Milford Mill High School, he played on the tennis team and realized the value of strong academics. He matriculated to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. From there he returned to Baltimore to secure a master’s degree in Adult Education from Coppin State University and an Ed. D. in Urban Educational Leadership from Morgan State University.
He celebrates the chance to direct CCBC which marks renewed interest due, he believes, to a recent economic surge in Beaver County. The construction of a $6 billion utility factory by Shell has resulted in significant job-growth in a region that has suffered for decades following the closing of multiple steel mills.
“The county is in a changing pattern and new industries, including a possible medical marijuana plant, could be on the horizon,” he said. “It’s definitely a resurgent and reinventive spirit going on throughout the entire (Beaver) Valley. There’s even talk of a casino that could bring even more jobs in the near future.”
Davis remains unmarried so he has plenty of time for his four godsons and for other downtime activities including international travel, tennis and keeping up with the latest movies.
“I’ve always been career-minded and in time I’m sure that will all come to fruition,” he said.
One day he hopes to go back home to Charm City.
“I have a heart for Baltimore; it’s the foundation of my educational training. It’s still the place I call home,” he said.