Ralph Davis: Retired Graduate

  • Ralph Davis is a father and husband, as well as a retired veteran on the U.S. Air Force; at MSU he studies English, in technical writing.
  • “It must have been fate or something because my wife said you may not want to do that,” Davis said. “It was a letter from Laurie Rogers and other faculty that said I should consider the English department.”
  • Even as a non-traditional student, with the time it has taken to complete school, Davis isn’t finished. He intends to continue on to graduate school here at Missouri State University.
  • Missouri State University will hold their graduation commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 11. There will be two ceremonies, at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

 

It was 2009 and 24-year Air Force veteran Ralph Davis had just retired. Without knowing what to do next, his decision to move to Missouri would provide an opportunity that he would not see coming.

Davis was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in a military family. A coordinator in the United States Air Force, Davis described his duty as, “lots of boredom interspersed with chaotic moments.”

One of those chaotic moments was when Davis coordinated a search-and-rescue mission to rescue a boater who suffered from appendicitis.

“There was a gentleman who had an appendicitis attack while at sea,” Davis said. “He was part of a detail that was sent out to pick up the rocket boosters from the space shuttle (Challenger). If we didn’t get to him he was probably going to die.”

Davis said he’d once read about joint training operations between the Air Force and the United States Marine Corps. From that article he learned to coordinate with the Marines to get a helicopter to the man in distress and get him to a hospital.

Davis moved to Lake of the Ozarks after retirement. He and his wife, Brandy, chose to move to Missouri on a compromise.

“She was born in Wisconsin so she loves her cold weather, and I love my summer heat being from Texas,” Davis said. “It provided all four seasons and a little bit of everything.”

A little bit of everything is what drew Davis to Springfield.

Along with the weather, the culture and the food, Davis wanted to go to school to continue to learn. After visiting the Missouri State campus, he was intrigued but didn’t know what he wanted to do yet.

Davis attempted two majors, but was struggling to find what he wanted to do. He was about to drop all of his classes and begin working until his wife gave him some good news.

“It must have been fate or something because my wife said you may not want to do that,” Davis said. “It was a letter from Laurie Rogers and other faculty that said I should consider the English department.”

The next day, Davis met with Dr. W.D. Blackmon and registered as a professional writing major, following the track of a technical writer, with a minor in creative writing.

Davis’ favorite part of Missouri State was his upperclassmen years where teachers provide a guiding hand to the right path.

“They are more than willing to meet with you and talk about your future and what you are doing right and wrong,” Davis said. “Even when you get an A, your paper is full of red marks of what you can do better and I like that.”

“I still think there’s a lot more to learn and Missouri State gives me an opportunity to do that,” Davis said.

Davis is finishing his undergraduate degree and will walk across the stage to receive his degree in December. After graduation, he plans to begin graduate school at Missouri State.