Students who attended Whitworth with Steve Davis, ’62, realized that their classmate would likely become a great scholar. Davis served as a delegate with Whitworth’s Model United Nations, as an ASWC executive in charge of elections, and as a dorm president and chaplain. He was named to the national “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities” and was voted “Most Inspirational Senior” by his classmates. Whitworth women even named him a “Mr. Pensive Power” candidate during Tolo Week, for his intellect. No slouch in the athletics arena, he also co-captained Whitworth’s fledgling soccer team.
In a 1962 issue of The Whitworthian, a fellow student wrote of his classmate, “Because of the fact that Davis has served in so many different positions as a leader, he would not have been so effective if he had not also been dependable and dedicated. Dedication to the job, in its every phase, might well be the one quality for which Davis was chosen for the Senior Inspiration Award.”
After graduating from Whitworth with degrees in history and philosophy, Davis earned a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctorate in philosophy from Claremont Graduate University, in California. He has taught philosophy at Claremont McKenna College for nearly four decades, serving as the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy since 2003. Davis is the recipient of the 2001 Claremont McKenna College Presidential Award for Merit. He also received Whitworth’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and in 2011 Whitworth awarded him an honorary doctorate. His late wife, Charis (Soults), was a 1962 Whitworth alum.
Davis’ scholarship specializes in current Christian thought, ancient philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy and literature, and philosophy of religion. He has published or edited 13 books, including God, Reason and Theistic Proofs, and he is the author of numerous articles and reviews that have been published in philosophical and theological journals. He has returned to Whitworth to lecture on topics such as “Faith and the Human Condition,” in which he presents hope as a crucial aspect of faith. “We were created to be persons of faith, and thus hope,” Davis said. “The person of hope is a human being in the truest and fullest sense.”