Dr. Robert O. Davies
Known for his student-centered philosophy, commitment to the community, unyielding advocacy for higher education and inclusive leadership style, Dr. Robert O. Davies has served as the president of Murray State University since July 2014. He was selected as the University’s 13th president on March 12, 2014.
Since joining Murray State University he has overseen the development and implementation of the University’s 2015-2022 Strategic Plan that focuses on four pillars: 1) academic quality; 2) student success; 3) research, scholarship and creative activities; and 4) community engagement. Through this effort, he has led a resurgence of a commitment to academic and program excellence focused on rigorous and relevant curricular and co-curricular programs throughout the University. Under his leadership, and guided by the Strategic Plan, the University has created an Honors College, introduced and invested in a progressive new scholarship model, broke ground for two new academic buildings, opened Franklin Residential Hall and launched a new strategic marketing plan. By being active with all constituents and stakeholders of the University, Davies has created excitement for the shared vision of Murray State to be the best student-centered University in America. As a result of these efforts and commitment, the University continues to receive national recognition, including 27 consecutive years of U.S.News and World Report rankings as a top-tier institution in the South and being named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education for seven of the past nine years, dating back to 2009.
Prior to Murray State, Davies served as the president of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande where he successfully lobbied for state funding, implemented a strategic plan and played a leadership role in the formulation of an aggressive comprehensive fundraising effort. Davies also created the “Eastern Promise” which created a partnership among the University, community colleges, K-12 schools and school districts to foster and create a college going culture, significantly enhanced dual credit opportunities, scholarships and community advocacy. During his tenure at Eastern Oregon he oversaw increased enrollment, retention and graduation rates to the highest levels in the university’s history.
Davies was vice president for university relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania prior to accepting the presidency at Eastern Oregon in 2009. Before that he was the associate vice president for alumni relations and development at the State University of New York at Buffalo and executive director of the alumni association at Boise State University in Idaho. Davies’ first position in higher education was at the University of Nevada, Reno as the director of annual giving and the assistant director of alumni relations.
Davies received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2005. He earned his M.B.A. in finance and marketing in 1991 from the University of Oregon and his B.S. in management at the University of Nevada in Reno in 1989. Davies received the Higher Education Leadership certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 2007. He also attended Harvard’s Seminar for New Presidents in 2009 and returned in 2015 by attending Harvard’s Seminar for Senior Presidents.
Davies has authored numerous papers and has given many presentations throughout the country on university leadership in subjects as diverse as the college cost crisis, advancement, nontraditional alumni and students, strategy development in higher education and academic master planning and financial management.
Davies is married to Cindy Davies and they are the proud parents of one child — Katie.