COLLEGE FAMILY MOURNS PASSING OF PRESIDENT EMERITUS SAMUEL R. SPENCER JR., A DAVIDSON LEADER FOR 80 YEARS
“Sam Spencer was, in a single word, a giant. He was a man of visionary leadership at a pivotal time in the life of Davidson College,” said President Carol Quillen. “For me, as for so many in the college family and far beyond, he was a ready exemplar of attributes we need most in the world today. He was a man of grace, of humility and of quiet and unwavering moral courage. I join with the college family in boundless gratitude for his life so well lived.”
During Spencer’s presidency, Davidson witnessed the introduction of co-education, the active recruitment and admission of minority students, the establishment of a self-selection social system for fraternities, a reevaluation of the college’s relationship with the Presbyterian Church and student unrest over the Vietnam War. Through it all, Spencer led a new emphasis on faculty research, more and deeper foreign study opportunities for students and an increase in the college’s endowment from $13.8 million to $30 million. Enrollment during his tenure increased from 1,000 to 1,350.