Saint Xavier University Students

SOE Scholarships

Dorothy Ritter Davis Scholarship

About the Scholarship

Although her Chicago upbringing had not provided much preparation, Dorothy Ritter Davis quickly learned the fundamentals of field work, including milking cows, when she moved downstate to help her new husband start a farm in the late 1930s. Although her life had long revolved around the farm she and her husband Clarence built in the small community of Flora, IL, she never forgot her roots or the degree she received from Saint Xavier College in 1933. Before her death in 1998, Mrs. Davis endowed a scholarship in the School of Education. A fine role model for the thousands of children she met in her 33 years of teaching, Mrs. Davis modeled the University core values of excellence, compassion, service and an appreciation for diversity.

Dorothy Ritter Davis was born in Chicago. At a time when education for women was considered a luxury, Mrs. Davis' mother stressed education for her five daughters, as well as her two sons. Mrs. Davis won a scholarship to Saint Xavier College (as it was then known) because of her excellent academic performance. She took classes in the mornings and then took the trolley to work at a five-and-dime-store for 18 cents an hour. Interviewed in 1996, Mrs. Davis had this to say about her college days, "Then I had to do my homework and be up and ready for school the next day. I was so doggone busy!"

The core value of compassion is illustrated in Mrs. Davis' life by the comments made by a former student and principal in Flora: "Whether I was the five-foot-two scared freshman, the brash six-foot senior, or the principal working on a curriculum or discipline problem with her, she was always my friend." 

Mrs. Davis led a life of service. She taught in a one-room school house, then taught English, Spanish and German at Flora High School. She was a willing sponsor of many extracurricular activities, including homecoming and proms, and always had time to talk with her students. When she established the scholarship in 1995, Mrs. Davis said: "The best thing to do is to help someone else ... I thought I should do something for [Saint Xavier University] because that school meant so much to me."

Throughout her life, Mrs. Davis appreciated diversity--learning from and thriving in the different environments in which she lived. She once said, "Can you imagine? A girl from Chicago going to a one-room schoolhouse?" At first, people laughed and described her as "green as grass." But now Dorothy Ritter Davis is remembered as a fine teacher and generous supporter of education, her memory cherished by those who knew her and those who enjoy the gift of education that her scholarship provides.

*The core values of Saint Xavier University, as established and exemplified by the Sisters of Mercy.

Application Deadline

Applications should be submitted by December 15 and letters of recommendation should be postmarked or hand-delivered to WAC G-203 by 4 p.m. December 15.

The Award

The Dorothy Ritter Davis Scholarship Committee seeks to honor her by assisting an admitted School of Education (except MATL) student who possesses the core values of excellence, compassion, service and appreciation of diversity exemplified by Mrs. Davis. Applicants must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Past awards have been approximately $7,200**. The scholarship is a grant applied towards tuition in the following academic year.


Saint Xavier University
The Dorothy Ritter Davis Scholarship Committee
c/o School of Education
3700 W. 103rd Street
Chicago, IL 60655

**Exact amount of tuition grants depends on available funds from endowments and individual student's account status. Please check with Financial Aid before applying. 

Application Form

The application form is closed to any further submissions.