Dr. John Davis named to the Lee and Lunelle Nix Hemphill Endowed Chair in Business

November 5, 2021 Mary Burke

Dr. John Davis is a professor of management in the Kelley College of Business and Professional Studies at Hardin-Simmons University. He arrived at HSU in 2008 and has been a staple on campus since. Dr. Davis is active in the community, so one does not need to take his classes to be familiar with his booming voice and sense of humor. Larger than life in his accomplishments, Dr. Davis is a humble man who always strives to better himself and those around him.

Graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1975, Dr. Davis was exposed to unique learning moments. One opportunity took him to the Austrian Military Academy on an exchange trip, another to Princeton University. He served five years post-graduation from West Point on active duty and another twenty-three years in the Army Reserve. In these years of service and training, Dr. Davis was drawn to the study and practice of leadership. “West Point is a 4-year leadership seminar. The military impressed upon me the critical importance of good leadership,” he said.

Dr. John N. Davis-associate professor of management at the Kelley College of Business

Dr. John Davis

His interest in leadership continued as Dr. Davis then earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From there, he worked at Campbell’s Soup Company for seventeen years, in plant engineering. In this role, Dr. Davis was exposed, again, to various leadership styles. On his faculty bio page, Dr. Davis shares, “I regularly found myself maddeningly frustrated in my leadership efforts – both in the army and in civilian life. Sometimes things went well. Sometimes they were just OK. But often, like Saint Paul in the letter to the Romans, my experience was “what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Why is good leadership so hard to get right?”

The example of a good leader himself, Dr. Davis left his job at Campbell’s Soup to better understand and, more importantly, apply leadership skills. He earned his Ph.D. in business administration from Texas Tech University in 2005.

Dr. Davis uses his experiences from the military and civilian worlds, along with his service in church and community, to provide a unique perspective to his students when discussing leadership and management.

Dr. Davis joined the faculty of HSU because he wanted to work with students interested in ministry. Dr. Davis wants to ensure churches and communities have strong, capable Christian leaders, and hopes he can provide that foundation through his classes and relationships.

This past year, Dr. Davis was awarded the Lee and Lunelle Nix Hemphill Endowed Chair in Business. Dr. Robert Tucker, Dean of Kelley College of Business and Professional Studies shared, “The endowed chair is reserved for those who have shown excellence in teaching, scholarship, and research. Dr. Davis epitomizes all the great things about Hardin-Simmons people.”

Professor John N. Davis participates in a nonprofit organization activity

Dr. John Davis

In October, Dr. Davis presented current research at the Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture. Scholars and practitioners in attendance examined what it means to live accountably, in relation both to God and to others. Read the abstract of Dr. Davis’s presentation here, on page twelve. Always researching, he also was published in the 2019 volume of the West Texas Historical Association with an article about HSU’s own Dam-it. Upon completing the research and article, Dr. Davis said, “the article was a lark and so fun to do.”

Dr. Davis’s advice to HSU students, cheekily, is to, “read the syllabus.” More seriously, he encourages all students to, “get connected. Get out of your room. Get connected with faculty, church, friends, and people in your field of study. Just get connected.”

Congratulations on being the recipient of the Lee and Lunelle Nix Hemphill Endowed Chair in Business, Dr. Davis! The honor is well deserved.