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Dr. Jean M. DavisonApril 19, 1922 ~ November 23, 2017 (age 95)
Dr. Jean M. Davison, Ph.D., age 95, passed away November 23, 2017, at her retirement community in Shelburne, VT. Dr. Davison resided at the Wake Robin community for 16 years, and previously lived in Burlington for more than 45 years. Dr. Davison is preceded in death by her parents, Aldace H. Davison and Ruth W. Davison of Glens Falls, NY, and her brothers Robert W. Davison of Wilmington, DE, and John A. Davison, who was serving in the United States Air Force at the time of his death. Dr. Davison is also preceded in death by her niece Mary Davison Mellen of Yonkers, NY. Dr. Davison is survived by a niece Anne Davison Baden of Raleigh, NC, four great-nieces, three great-nephews, and five great, great nieces and nephews.
Dr. Davison was reared in Glens Falls, NY, by parents who had grown up in Vermont and who frequently took their children to the family farm in Barnet Center. She attended the University of Vermont, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and earned an A.B. degree in Political Science in 1944. She worked for the United States War Department in Washington, DC, as a code analyst from 1944-1945. Capitalizing on her fluency in multiple foreign languages, she served in the Foreign Service from 1945-1949, with postings to Athens and Vienna. She returned to the United States and began graduate studies in Classical Archaeology at Yale University, earning a Ph.D. in 1957.
In 1954, Dr. Davison was awarded the Fulbright Award to teach at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. In 1955, she began teaching in the Classics Department at the University of Vermont, progressing to full Professor rank in 1969. At UVM, Dr. Davison taught all levels of Greek and Latin, Greek art, and Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern History. She was named the Lyman-Roberts Professor of Classical Languages and Literature in 1972, a position she held until her retirement in 1992. She was a Visiting Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in 1974-1975 and served as Acting Chairman of the Classics Department at UVM in 1976-1977. During numerous summers in her teaching career, Dr. Davison participated in archaeological excavations in Italy, Greece, Jordan, and Sardinia. She was a frequent guest scholar at the American Academy in Rome and at the American School in Athens.
To the international scholarly community, Dr. Davison was a leading authority on Athenian geometric vase painting. To her colleagues at UVM, she was known for her keen intellect, high energy, boundless curiosity, and passion for learning. To her students, Dr. Davison was a rigorous, but engaging, professor who demanded the best of her students and who supported them as they mastered the tools of scholarship.
To her surviving nieces and nephews, Dr. Davison was the “fun aunt” who was more of a grown-up playmate than a parent figure. She taught her nieces Mary and Anne to ski, ice skate, and play chess, and gave her great-nieces and nephews unusual memorabilia from her worldwide travels and wonderful books on Greek and Roman myths. Moreover, she avidly followed a variety of collegiate and professional sports, played the flute, and snow-shoed (when she could no longer downhill ski) into her ninth decade of life.
Dr. Davison will be buried in the family plot at Barnet Center, VT, close to the farm where she used to play as a child. The family wishes to thank the staff of Wake Robin for the excellent care they provided Dr. Davison. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Dr. Jean Davison ‘44 Scholarship Fund administered by the UVM Foundation.