Donald R. Davis

Donald R. Davis

Undergraduate Distinction Award


Donald R. Davis joined the UA Department of Hydrology and Water Resources in 1972 and was one of the most senior members of the faculty at the time of his death in February 2009. His primary research focus was decision making under hydrologic and other uncertainties, and his basic approach utilized Bayesian decision theory in a general system setting.

During the last decade of his life, even though the halcyon days of funded research were behind him, Don was still actively engaged in independent statistical studies with individuals both inside and outside the university. He continued to serve on MS and PHD exams and to advise masters and especially doctoral students who were majoring or minoring in Hydrology with the statistical aspects of their research projects.  He was an active faculty examiner for the doctoral qualifying examinations in surface hydrology and water resources.

Don served as the Undergraduate Coordinator and was the primary advisor to undergraduates with a major or minor in Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources.  He taught the year-long Senior Capstone and Senior Honors Thesis courses and, when the department was part of the College of Engineering, was a rotating instructor for the COE’s freshman course, Engineering 102. With Gary Woodard, he designed and oversaw the Master of Engineering degree program in Water Resources Engineering and helped that fledgling program get off the ground.

Upon his death, he left an endowment to the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources specifically for undergraduates whom he especially supported and encouraged. 

The evaluation for the Davis Undergraduate  Distinction Award is made by a committee appointed by the department and recognizes an outstanding undergraduate who demonstrates excellence in writing, speaking, or technical communication or provides outstanding service through volunteerism or extracurricular activities that benefit the department or the profession.

Don will be remembered not only for his academic and advising contributions, but also for his love of the undergraduate program he nurtured.