President Carol Quillen wears many hats here at Davidson College. She is a pioneer for the history of our institution as its first woman president. She leads our school towards equal educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. She is our unifying presence during our nation and community’s toughest times. She represents our school outwardly to the world and she celebrates our school inwardly towards the student body. However, in no way is the inward pride better exemplified than her passion for Davidson sports.
President Quillen has been seen at, as she describes it, “as many games, meets and matches as I can” possibly attend, often in a Davidson cap and frequently cheering as an incredibly passionate fan in as many ways possible. Though an avid sports fan, it is more than just a passion for sports. “While at Rice, I loved seeing my students play. And at Davidson, all students are in some sense my students” said Quillen. It is clear that President Quillen recognizes that Davidson’s competitive, Division I athletics make this small liberal arts institution unique. This is possible because of the special athletes that value both high-level competition and academic performance. She is incredibly proud of each and every one of her students, and uses athletic competition as opportunities to celebrate the efforts of these special individuals.
The pride and passion that our college president holds for each and every student athlete is exemplified by Davidson’s move to the Atlantic 10. “The A-10 gives our extraordinary scholar-athletes the national stage they deserve,” said Quillen. The recognition and valuation of our school’s unique combination of competitive academics in tandem with athletics creates an atmosphere that makes all Davidson supporters and alumni proud. “The strong academic profile of all of our student-athletes” was a huge factor in making Davidson a desirable addition to the Atlantic 10, especially in this day and age with powerhouse schools like UNC and Louisville under investigation. However, always gracious, President Quillen gives credit for the move to Athletic Director Jim Murphy and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bob McKillop.
Quillen notes that Davidson athletes do a particularly good job of taking advantage of the platforms that they are given. “Davidson athletes consistently exemplify Davidson’s primary purpose—humane instincts, leadership and service as they exhibit integrity, resilience, and competitiveness we expect of them.” Needless to say, with our football, basketball, and baseball team’s regular appearances on national broadcasting, this is an incredibly valuable asset for the institution. “The footprint of the [A-10] conference expands our reach,” said Quillen, “Just think about the super-regionals! Our baseball team impressed every reporter that covered these games and even some fans of the opposing teams.”
It seems obvious to state that President Quillen adds a lot to the current layout of Davidson College. And despite all of the great achievements that this article, her bio on the college website, and even her Wikipedia page enumerate, perhaps her greatest achievement and addition to our community is how well her spirited effort to show her fandom at Wildcat sporting events represents the nature of our school. Our society glorifies sports. Thus, all sorts of people attend sporting events for the love of the game, love of a team, or many other reasons. Surely the president of a powerhouse football school, such as Alabama, attends their football games to be seen. But how often do you see a college president attend nearly every sporting event purely to celebrate the school and its athletes with the same passion as President Quillen?
As a community, we pride ourselves on the relationships that we share with our professors. This isn’t because of how incredibly decorated they are nor the prestige that they bring to each and every department, but because of the great efforts they put into pulling for our academic success through the real, personal relationships that they foster with students. The fact that President Quillen attends sporting events shows that same level of commitment to each and every athlete and team here on campus. Said Quillen, “I am grateful and fortunate to work every day with the phenomenal student athletes that Davidson attracts.” To me, more than all of the other achievements on her record, this is something of which we as a Davidson community should be proud.