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Oxford College Dean Douglas Hicks named president of Davidson College
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Douglas Hicks

Oxford College Dean Douglas Hicks will serve as the next president of his undergraduate alma mater, Davidson College. He is credited for “transformational” leadership at Oxford, where he has served as dean since 2016.

Douglas Hicks, dean of Emory University’s Oxford College, has been selected as the next president of Davidson College, a private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina.

Hicks, who has served as Oxford’s dean since 2016, is returning to his alma mater, having earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Davidson before earning a master of divinity degree from Duke University and his MA and PhD in religion from Harvard University. He will take the helm at Davidson on Aug. 1.

“Dean Hicks elevated Oxford College in its mission to educate and transform lives,” says President Gregory L. Fenves. “He made Emory's founding campus into a destination for students from across the nation and around the world seeking a unique liberal arts education and college experience. I am grateful for all he has done for our university and wish him the best as he moves on to lead the Davidson community.”

Oxford College is located on Emory's original 1836 campus in Oxford, Georgia. With an emphasis on a residential, liberal arts experience, it offers a distinctive, small-campus setting that allows first- and second-year students to thrive both academically and personally before continuing to Emory’s Atlanta campus to complete their bachelor’s degrees through Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta Business School or Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Hicks has been instrumental in advancing Oxford across many dimensions, focusing on academic excellence, leadership education, diversity and investment in financial aid, infrastructure and faculty and staff. 

“Doug Hicks has been a transformational dean for Oxford College, helping to realize its exceptional potential as a leader in undergraduate education,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Emory’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“While Oxford is known as Emory’s birthplace, it’s also a vital part of Emory’s future, especially as we focus on providing an unparalleled experience for undergraduates through our Student Flourishing initiative,” Bellamkonda notes. “We’re excited about what’s ahead for Oxford as we continue to build on what’s been achieved under Doug’s leadership.”

As part of Oxford’s strategic plan, Hicks led the creation of a distinctive new general-education curriculum, including Discovery Seminars, experiential learning and a Milestone Project for every student, while increasing the number of advanced classes and adding new areas of study. Thanks in part to these efforts, applications to Oxford have more than doubled over the past six years to over 20,000 in 2022, contributing to record diversity and academic strengths among enrolled students.

The Oxford campus has also seen signficant physical and philanthropic expansion during Hicks’ tenure, including the addition of a new dining hall and student center and renovations of the historic Phi Gamma, Pierce and Humanities buildings. Meanwhile, Oxford’s endowment has nearly doubled since 2016 and the college has already surpassed $70 million raised toward its $80 million 2O36 Campaign goal, enabling new investments in financial aid and the student experience.

Hicks has also strengthened ties with Emory’s Atlanta campus to ensure students’ smooth transition and to foster student flourishing, including strengthening post-graduation career opportunities through the Mellon Humanities Pathways Program. In addition, he has helped lead Emory’s work to memorialize the labor of enslaved persons as co-chair of the university’s Twin Memorials Working Group.

“It has been an honor to be part of the Oxford and Emory communities for the last six years,” Hicks says. “I am proud that Oxford's outstanding faculty and staff have worked together to deliver an extraordinary liberal arts education to our diverse and highly talented students. I know that they are not only prepared to excel in their studies in Atlanta, but also to grow into leaders who will serve their communities far beyond college.”

Hicks will continue to serve as Oxford’s dean through July. Bellamkonda will name an interim dean in the coming weeks following consultation with faculty and other stakeholders, after which a national search will commence for the next dean of Oxford College.

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