Who is Dr. Adenike Marie Davidson?

Destiny Wharton


Partial Interview Link: https://youtu.be/Btx5pmo2R3Y

Hornet: Can we get to meet the woman behind the face? Where were born and what was your upbringing like?

Dr. Davidson: I was born in Washington DC, but raised in New York City since I was 3 months old.  I am the oldest of 2 girls. My parents were married for 52 years.  My father works in the film industry and I was always around a lot of “stars” from film and TV to music.  They were always very supportive of whatever we wanted to do, and my sister and I had many international experiences.

Hornet: Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the woman you are today?

Dr. Davidson: My sister and I spent every summer with our two grandmothers, one in North Carolina and the other in Jamaica, so they were great influences on me.  This was where I learned the value of needle arts and music and keeping a calm demeanor in the face of obstacles.

Hornet: What about your family today?

Dr. Davidson: In terms of family, I am child free and a widow. But I am a dog lover and the caregiver of a 17-year-old Chinese Crested who has been with me for 16 years.  No nieces or nephews, but Godmother to two.

Hornet: Can you tell us of your education history and what your goals or life ambition was when you were a student in College?

Dr. Davidson: I began as a Math Major in college, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester MA.  My sophomore year I switched to English after earning a D in Linear Algebra and receiving A’s in all of my English classes. And because Holy Cross was a Catholic school, I learned very little about African American literature and history, so I pursued an MA in African American Studies at UCLA.  Then I returned to the East Coast and completed my doctorate in English at University of Maryland, College Park.  I think I always knew I wanted to be a college professor, but didn’t always know in what.

Hornet: Can you tell us of your job experience prior attending Delaware State University?             

Dr. Davidson: I began teaching full time at University of Central Florida in Orlando FL.  Although I was there for 7 years, that school was too big for my liking and I preferred an environment where I would work one on one with students.  I earned tenure there and moved to Fisk University in Nashville TN, making a commitment to HBCUs.  Although I did not attend an HBCU, both my parents went to Howard.  I stayed at Fisk for 8 years and earned promotion to full professor.  I came to Delaware State University as the Department Chair 6 years ago.

Hornet: What was the most memorable point at that job/school?

Dr. Davidson: Each school has its own rewards and challenges.  While at Fisk, I published my first book and enjoyed many international professional development summer experiences.

Hornet: Is this where you thought you’d be 5 or 10 years ago?

Dr. Davidson: Hard to say.  I try to be flexible in life because you don’t want to be stubborn and miss your blessings.  “People make plans and God laughs!” I try to believe everything happens for a reason and work towards your great er good.  Of course, sometimes it is difficult to keep that mind set.

Hornet: What informed your decision on doing what you’re doing now?

Dr. Davidson: I believe in the importance of family and therefore it is important for me to be close to family right now.

Hornet: What are your plans for the future?

Dr. Davidson: I do have plans to do a year on Fulbright— which is a program that sends professionals abroad to teach and do research; perhaps in Norway, Iceland, or Japan.  I have done extensive travel in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, and some in South America.  None in Asia.

Hornet: What kind of advice would you offer a student, who is undecided on his or her career path?

Dr. Davidson: Figure out what you like and what interests you.  Don’t be afraid to try new classes. As much as possible, find ways to make joy while you are pursuing your education. Take responsibility for your learning. Learn and follow the Four Agreements!

Hornet: How would you describe the state of higher education in America today?

Dr. Davidson: Ugh, that’s a hard one.  Seems to be moving into a place of consumerism.  Students should not feel like they have paid for a grade.  It is sad to me that students have to work so much outside of classes and have no time for learning.  When I was in college, school was always my priority but that doesn’t seem to be the case for many students now. 

Hornet: What does the future hold for America?

Dr. Davidson: I don’t know but you are the future and you’re going to have to make it work.

Hornet: What are your thoughts on DACA and the policy of President Trump regarding the program?

Dr. Davidson: Heartbreaking the ways in which we have become desensitized to the problems of others.  The American Dream seems to be on life support for many who are not white and wealthy.  We must be diligent in understanding what is happening to our government and make a commitment to be a part of the change.

Hornet: What are your hobbies or extracurricular activities?

Dr. Davidson: I am an aerial yoga instructor, I am a yogi and practice yoga daily.  I sew, read, and love apocalypse movies and tv shows.

Photo Courtesy of Scarritt Bennett Center

Hornet: Let us end this interview with your philosophy of life. How do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?

Dr. Davidson: I believe in karma and thus try to live well, greeting each day as a gift and taking nothing for granted.  Begin the day in meditation and movement.  Remember to breathe slowly and deeply.

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