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The Davis Family walking on campus

About President Davis

President Michael DavisDr. Michael “Mike” Davis is the 27th President of Fairmont State University. President Davis hit the ground running upon his arrival on campus to begin his tenure as president in July of 2023. In the months since, President Davis has not only listened to countless constituents ranging from students, to University employees, community members, business partners, and state legislators, but he has also acted on the insights he’s gathered while he develops his vision for the future of the University.

President Davis is committed to positioning Fairmont State as the best regional university in West Virginia. To further that goal, he began the strategic planning process, including surveying campus- and community-wide stakeholders and appointing a strategic planning committee. He’s met with state legislators to share his vision, and met with former, current, and potential partners in various sectors.  

Fun Facts!

  • Fact 1: Dr. Davis and his family have been to Walt Disney World nearly 25 times, walking right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A. 
  • Fact 2: As a Syracuse grad, his favorite color is orange which oddly enough, looks great next to maroon!
  • Fact 3: After just a few more trips, Dr. Davis will be the first Fairmont State President to have traveled to an away game with each athletic team. Go Falcons!

Prior to assuming the leadership role at Fairmont State, Dr. Davis was Chief of Staff at James Madison University (JMU). In that role, Dr. Davis managed JMU’s presidential priorities and directed matters of policy and institutional importance, including strategic planning, institutional research, and accreditation. He was also regularly involved in external relations, crisis management and strategic communication, alumni engagement and advancement, diversity and inclusion leadership, fundraising, and fiscal management.

Before becoming Chief of Staff at JMU, Dr. Davis served as a faculty member and Director of Debate in JMU’s School of Communication Studies. With debate coaching experience spanning more than 25 years, Dr. Davis leveraged alumni and external grant support to elevate JMU’s Madison Debate society to one of national renown. Dr. Davis previously taught communication studies and coached debate at Georgia State University, University of Georgia, University of Rochester, University of Louisville, Mercer University, and Syracuse University.  

Other Facts!

  • Date of Birth: September 21, 1972
  • Whats your Sign? Virgo
  • Marvel or D.C? Marvel with an honorable mention for Superman

President Davis earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Georgia. He also holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University. His academic research interests center women in the Civil Rights Movement, debate pedagogy, presidential rhetoric, and argumentation and advocacy.

Whether serving as a teacher, an administrator, or as a higher education leader, students always come first for President Davis, and his executive leadership style grew from and is grounded in his commitment to students. The emphasis he places on relationships is rooted in his own experience as a first-generation/low-income college student. He completed his undergraduate journey because he had advocates—people who never treated him like a number and who always reminded him of his potential.  

President Davis believes that higher education is fueled by relationships. His interactions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, legislators and friends of the university foster teamwork, regularly propel innovative partnerships and position Fairmont State University as a great place to learn, a great place to work, and a great place to call home.