OGDEN — Weber State lost a pillar of the institution over the weekend.
Bruce Davis, beloved administrator and teacher at Weber State University and member of the Layton City Council, died unexpectedly of a heart attack Sunday evening at the age of 65.
Davis worked at Weber State for almost 30 years, starting in 1990 as director for the center for business and economic development at the John B. Goddard School of Business and Economics.
He went on to serve as director of Weber State’s Davis campus from 1999 to 2008. From 2008 to the present, he served as vice provost and dean of continuing education, while continuing to direct the Davis campus.
In his role overseeing continuing education for the university, Davis was responsible for programs that would increase access for students who were unable to come to campus or were returning to school later in life, said Brian Stecklein, a colleague of Davis who on Tuesday became interim dean for online and continuing education.
Stecklein worked with Davis for about 12 years in a formal role, he said, though he interacted with Davis prior to their work together.
He said that Davis’ most significant contribution to the university was “his life.”
“He gave of his life to the institution,” Stecklein said. “... He was always representing Weber State. ... He loved the campus. He loved what it stood for, its mission. He loved the fact that he was able to help those who may not have the chance to go to Weber State (campus) go to college, especially first-generation college students.”
And with Davis at the helm of many of these efforts, Weber State has been particularly effective in supporting first-generation and non-traditional students, Stecklein said.
Davis’ work included the recently built Community Education Center at 26th and Monroe, which serves the residents of central Ogden.
He also served on numerous community boards, including the Davis Chamber of Commerce, Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital and the Utah State Charter School Board, according to information shared by Allison Hess, director of public relations for Weber State.
Prior to his work for Weber State, Davis earned a bachelor of science from Weber State in 1979 with the support of the GI Bill, which he received for his service as a Navy corpsman with the Marines during the Vietnam War, according to Weber State’s website. He took night classes to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Utah, according to the same source.
But Davis is most remembered for the care he showed for students and colleagues.
Despite his workload as an administrator, Davis always taught a class or two, Stecklein said.
He taught five different courses since 2008, including Introduction to Business and Small Business Management in Weber State’s Goddard School of Business and Economics and Entrepreneurship in Health Care in the Dumke College of Health Professions, Hess said.
While it’s common for administrators to continue teaching classes occasionally, Stecklein said, it was unique that Davis continued to teach every semester.
“He loved to always have that interaction with the students,” Stecklein said.
“Bruce loved teaching students how to learn,” said Matthew Mouritsen, interim dean of the Goddard School of Business and Economics, in a message shared by Hess. “His most effective method was to treat students with such caring and compassion that they quickly trusted him. Once he was trusted, students’ learning accelerated. As a teacher, an administrator and as a person, I hope to ‘Be like Bruce!’”
“I love the man,” Stecklein said. “I loved who he was and what he did. I appreciated his life that he gave to others. He was always so sincere and genuine, and I’ll greatly miss him.”
Davis’ twin brother, Brian Davis, was also a well recognized professor at Weber State University, teaching in the Goddard School of Business and Economics for more than 25 years. In late November 2013 at the age of 59, he also died suddenly from an illness he contracted while in Thailand, according to prior reporting from the Standard-Examiner.
Davis was voted into the Layton City Council in 2015, with his term concluding the end of this year. He also served on Layton’s Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks (R.A.M.P.) committee.
The city council shared a message on the city’s Facebook page Monday afternoon.
“The mayor, council members and Layton City employees send their deepest condolences to the family at this difficult time, and thank Bruce for his dedicated service to the city,” the message says. “We would also like to thank the Davis family for sharing Bruce with us; we valued his insight and considered him a stellar resource and consummate professional. He will be greatly missed.”