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Foster Davis, Jr
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Birth: 1917
Death: 2006

Foster B. Davis, who was once given the nickname of Brown University's "Mr. Hockey," was extensively involved with hockey both on and off the skating rink, and was elected to the Brown Athletic Hall of Fame. Yet his impressive contributions to Brown reach much further than athletics. He served as the University's vice chancellor (1969-1979), and as chairman of the Davis Committee that recommended the establishment of an M.D. program at Brown. Among Davis' many other roles: he was class president (Brown, 1939), president of the Associated Alumni, Trustee of the Alumni Fund, and a Trustee of the University.

Foster Davis, also known as Pete, came from a family of Brown alumni. His father Foster B. Davis (1880-1950) graduated in the class of 1904. His mother was Hope (Spink) Davis (1884-1968). One of his uncles, Eliot G. Parkhurst, graduated in the class of 1906, and another, William P. Sheffield, in the Class of 1915. Born on January 11, 1917, Pete Davis prepared for college at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then enrolled with Brown's class of 1939, where he was a member of Psi Upsilon. On June 21, 1941, Davis married Sylvia Cognant. They had two sons; John Cognant, born in 1943, Brown Class of 1968; and Roger Spink, born in 1945.

Davis played varsity hockey at the Moses Brown school in Providence before playing three years at Andover and four years at Brown. He was a captain in his senior year, when Brown achieved its first victory over Yale in 35 years.

Davis served as a Naval Officer from 1942-45 (WWII). In 1946, he became a managing partner in the stockbroker firm Davis & Davis. He also started advocating for an ice hockey rink at Brown. A generous donation from George V. Meehan (BP 263) in the late 1950s enabled Brown to build the Meehan Auditorium and achieve Davis' dream. Davis served as an Alumni Trustee and Chairman of the Athletic Advisory Council, and played an active role as the building committee's co-chair. It is because of Davis' intervention that the auditorium today has seats, not bleachers, in the large north and south stands.

In 1956, Davis read an advertisement in the Providence Journal, offering a youth hockey league franchise for $75. He bought the franchise, and with the help of other fathers, formed the team East Side Bantams. The players ranged from 10 to 14 years old. In 1961 the team moved from Seekonk to Brown's Meehan Auditorium, and changed their name to the Brown Cubs. Davis was their coach for many years.

In 1964, Davis was elected to the board of governors of the Boston Stock Exchange. At this time, he also served as a trustee of the Moses Brown School, and treasurer of the Providence Public Library. He was on the board of directors of Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and was the director of the Old Colony Cooperative Bank. He was still involved with Davis & Davis, now named Tucker, Anthony & R. L. Day, as vice president and director of the firm. Davis served as President of the Brown Club of RI and the Associated Alumni. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by Brown University.

At the Alumni Dinner on May 31, 1968, Davis was honored with the Brown Bear Award for his "outstanding personal service." President Alexander A. DiMartino, Class of 1929, read the following citation on behalf of the Associated Alumni:

"Foster Barker Davis, Jr., '39: the qualities of leadership so strikingly evident in your undergraduate years gave early promise of the shape of things to come. Since your graduation from your Alma Mater your devoted service to her has been marked by the constancy and fidelity of a loving son. As President of your class, President of the Brown Club of Rhode Island, as director, Vice President and President of the Associated Alumni, as Trustee of the Alumni Fund, as Chairman of the Athletic Advisory Council and as Trustee of the University, your steadfast faithfulness has been an inspiration to your fellow alumni. But your most rewarding labor of love resulted in the beautiful and functional Meehan Auditorium. Your tireless efforts as Chairman of the Fund Raising Committee and as Co-Chairman of the Building Committee made the impossible dream come true. With admiration and affection we delight in honoring you with the Brown Bear Award."

The portrait of Foster B. Davis is one of a group of paintings commissioned to honor the guiding lights of ice hockey at Brown. It was a source of great joy for Davis when he was honored with a portrait in the Gallery. The painting can be seen in the Meehan Foyer in the Meehan Auditorium, alongside other portraits of Brown's Sports Legends and George Meehan.

This portrait was painted from photograph by Robert Franklen Aiken. Aiken is a self-taught freelance illustrator and landscape artist.

Bob Aiken specializes in illustrations for Ivy League college and university athletic publications, as well as work for east coast professional sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His artwork came to the attention of the Brown Hockey Association through publications for Darmouth College, where Aiken graduated in the class of 1962.

Aiken exhibits his work at Gallery on the Green and Vermont Fine Art Gallery. He is a member of the Southern Vermont Artists' Association.

"In my experience," Aiken says, "things are seldom as they appear at first. They are multi-dimensional and contradictions abound. Initial perceptions can be deceiving; the profound is often reflected in the most common things. Most things ? and people, too, for that matter ? are at once both beautiful and flawed. In my painting I hope to capture this ambivalence as well as the feel of the air and the unique quality of the light of any given scene. It is perhaps appropriate that my paintings are other than precise representations, but tend more toward the impressionistic."

Most of Aiken's athletic illustrations are done using pen and ink. However, his portraits for Brown, like his landscapes, were done using acrylic paints.

Aiken was born in Barre, Vermont in 1940, and his Vermont roots run deep. His ancestors moved to Vermont from New Hampshire six generations ago following the American Revolution. He currently lives on a dirt road in the woods in Vermont and concentrates on his painting full-time.

For other Brown Hockey affiliates painted by Aiken see John Rowe Workman (BP 262), James H. Fullerton (BP 261), Joseph Castro (BP 309), Westcott Moulton (BP 260) and George Meehan (BP 263).

The paintings were commissioned through the efforts of Bill Corrigan '58, the executive director and treasure of the Brown Hockey Association. To recognize Corrigan's long-standing support of the program, as well as his roles as hockey historian and archivist, the University named the trophy case in the Meehan lobby after him in February 2004.

Swan Point Cemetery
Providence County
Rhode Island, USA
Created by: Linda Mac
Record added: May 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 70562109
Foster Davis, Jr
Added by: Linda Mac
Foster Davis, Jr
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