| An SPU
Danna Davis Began Her Long-Lived Campus Connection
in First Grade
DANNA WILDER DAVIS ’39 completed first grade through college
graduation in 15
consecutive years — 1924 to 1939 — on
the Seattle Pacific College campus.
Why did SPC include the entire spectrum
of grades at the time? “The College
was training teachers,” says Davis. “The on campus elementary classes and high
school provided a place to do student teaching for certification. At the time,
didn’t accept student teachers from private,
religious colleges or universities.
Davis began her long-lived campus connection in the first grade.
To the best of my knowledge and research,
four others completed 16 years
of schooling on campus,” Davis states. “They were Lillian Probsfeldt Smith,
Lenna May Burns Pettengill, Miriam Marston Owen and Burton Beegle, all deceased.
Dewey Beegle devoted his entire career to teaching math at SPC, spending much
of his life at our campus.”
Danna Wilder’s family resided in the neighborhood
surrounding Seattle Pacific.
Consequently, she lived at home during
her school years. As a college student, she
was one of the early Falconettes, who wore
their distinctive sleeveless sweaters with
emblems. She was also active in student
gov ernment, serving as secretary of the
student body association.
“I worked in the Registrar’s Office
under Dr. Philip Ashton,” she recalls. “When enrollment went over 300, the college
celebrated by declaring a half-day
holiday from classes.”
When asked about social life on campus
during the ’30s, Davis grins. “Dates consisted of long walks on Queen Anne Hill
and sitting together in Vespers.
That’s how Joe Dav is and I spent time
together. We couldn’t sit together in classes or chapel because seating was done
alphabetically. Even the steps up into Peterson Hall [then the administrative
building] were divided, the boys
walking on one side and the girls the other.
This changed under President C. Hoyt
Some of those early rules seem archaic today, Davis
acknowledges. “The college
president’s wife was the dean of women. Because there was a required hem length,
all the young women had to take their skirts and dresses to the first lady for
measurement,” she says with a chuckle.
After Joe graduated in 1941, romantic
sparks flew faster. Preparing to go east to Biblical Seminary of New York, he
couldn’t leave Danna behind. They married and headed for the Big Apple. While
Joe attended seminary, Danna
worked as secretary to George Upton ’25
at the Brooklyn YMCA.
“When we returned to the state of Washington, Joe and I
Methodist churches in Port Angeles,
Auburn and Mount Vernon,” recalls Davis. “From there, President Watson recruited
Joe to join the SPC faculty in biblical literature. Watson later encouraged Joe
go to graduate school in theology.”
Back on campus as a faculty wife, Danna Davis
was given a small room in the basement of Peterson Hall. There she ran the Alumni
Office practically singlehandedly for five years. Once the Alumni Association
hired a full-time director, she became an Alumni Board member, serving part of
that time as secretary, and also as an advisor to the Falconettes.
Joe and Danna
Davis enjoyed many years of involvement with Seattle Pacific. There they met
and fell in love. Later, they invested their lives in students, often hosting
them for meals in their home. Following a distinguished career, Joe Davis retired
from Seattle Pacific University in 1981. He died in 1998.
Danna Davis now lives
at the Warm Beach Senior Community near Stanwood, Washington. She smiles and
laughs as she
recalls her years as a student and as a
professor’s wife. She also remembers some little-known facts about the area around
“The lower Queen Anne college vicinity
was known as Ross,” she recalls. “Third Avenue was one of the stops of the trolley
that came down Nickerson on tracks from the city center to Golden Gardens. It
known as ‘the Ross Stop.’ Across Third Avenue from the present Student Union
Building (SUB) was a corner grocery store known as the Ross Marche. Across Bertona
from the SUB were a corner
drugstore, another grocery store and a
Davis’ son, Dan Davis ’73, is the father of Laura Davis, currently
at Seattle Pacific. So the legend lives on.
SPU is “home” to the Davis family.
— BY BOB HASLAM
— PHOTO BY JERRY GAY
Bob Haslam ’50 is the former editor of Light and Life magazine
and former book/acquisition editor for Light and Life Press. He
currently works as a freelance writer and editor. Seattle Pacific
is part of the Haslam heritage as well: Bob’s mom and dad met at
SPC, and his brother, sister, son, daughter, cousins, nieces and
nephews all attended his alma mater.
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