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R-MA Icon Bob Davies Passes Away

Robert Davies, a teacher at Randolph-Macon Academy for 24 years, passed away on March 1, 2019.On March 1, 2019, Mr. Robert A. Davies, the Chair of R-MA’s English Department and an R-MA icon for more than 24 years, passed away in Wilmington, NC, among family and friends.

Though a humble, quiet man, Mr. Davies was honored several times throughout his career. He was named R-MA’s Outstanding Teacher for 2000-2001 by the Parents’ Association, and was named to “Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers” for the same school year. He was selected as Teacher of the Quarter, 1st Quarter, for the 2005-2006 school year. He was again honored outside of R-MA when he was named an Educator of Distinction, an award presented by Dr. Claes Nobel of The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), in both 2008 and 2009.

These honors were well-deserved, as Mr. Davies developed several innovative programs at R-MA that impacted the students in and out of the classroom. He launched R-MA’s Literary Magazine “Letters,”
the Alpha Readers Book Club, and the Community Reader program. He also established the Byzantium Chapter of the National English Honor Society and served as its advisor, and he and the English Honor Society hosted the Poetry Slam each year. In addition, he created the Power English Program, in which students took two class periods of English from sixth grade through tenth grade.

In addition to all of these innovations, throughout his career Mr. Davies served as a mentor, Honor Council advisor,  and the journalism intramural advisor. Mr. Davies was also a leader in the British Exchange program with Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. (Royal Examiner journalist Malcolm Barr P’02 shares his own memories of Mr. Davies on their website.)

All of the programs Mr. Davies created, however, are secondary to the impact he had on students. Over the years, many alumni have returned and attributed their college success and/or their love of reading and their ability to analyze literature to this amazing teacher. In tribute to him, students throughout the Academy posted “Be RAD Today” signs. In addition to “RAD” being his initials, Mr. Davies was known for saying “Be rad today,” to his students.

R-MA President Brig Gen David Wesley noted, “For those of us privileged to have worked with him or studied under his leadership, this is a great loss.  Bob was as kind as he was literate; as blessed with humor as he was demanding of our best performance.  It is a rare thing to be able to teach young people with great skill; Bob Davies had that precious talent and used it for the benefit of all of us for a long time.”

There will be two opportunities to remember Mr. Davies and celebrate his life. On Wednesday, March 13th at 2:00 pm, a service will be held in Boggs Chapel to allow the students, faculty, and staff to gather and honor his memory. Alumni, friends, and family are welcome. On Saturday, March 23rd at 2:00 pm, a second service, also at Boggs Chapel, will provide a time for Mr. Davies family and friends to celebrate his life. All are welcome.