Writer: Daphne Griffin
Friday, July 3, 2018
Charles “Chuck” Dibbern Davis was a firm believer in second, and even third, chances. He knew that sometimes life didn’t happen as planned, but that no matter the odds, opportunities to find positive change and success should exist.
In honor of her late husband’s belief, Helen Davis established the Chuck Davis Second Chance Endowed Scholarship at Doña Ana Community College during NMSU’s Giving Tuesday event in November. Each of the Davis’ six children and their families and friends contributed to the $12,500 investment. Matched dollar for dollar with gifts from generous donors, the NMSU Foundation was able to double the investment and fully endow the scholarship fund.
“Chuck wanted to help as many young people as he could,” Helen said. “And, he truly believed that endless opportunities for success could be found at DACC.”
After spending his youth in numerous places around the globe, Chuck settled in New Mexico in 1950. He married Helen in 1956 and graduated from NMSU with a degree in electrical engineering in 1958. He served in the United States Air Force for 20 years and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam and Thailand. Chuck retired from service in 1979.
He spent the following years teaching, volunteering and working for White Sands Missile Range as a second career – all the while advocating tirelessly for education and civil rights. Along the way, he and Helen raised six children who have, in turn, raised the couple’s 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
In 2000, Chuck retired a second time and began a full-time advocacy for civil rights and education. His efforts led him to the Las Cruces Public School Board where he spent 16 years tirelessly working for the educational welfare of the county’s youngest learners. He was selected as the New Mexico School Board Association’s Member of the Year in 2017 for his contributions.
Helen said Chuck loved serving his community and seeing young people succeed; and because he cared so deeply about the success of young people, he expanded his advocacy into higher education, serving on the DACC advisory board for numerous years.
“Chuck loved Doña Ana Community College,” Helen said. “He really felt that DACC was the key for students in the county to get ahead. He believed in its mission and service as a community college, and he felt it was the perfect avenue for students to find successful pathways into higher education after high school.”
Former NMSU Foundation President Andrea Tawney said, “The very mission of the NMSU system – including Doña Ana Community College – and the NMSU Foundation is to provide life-changing opportunities for students throughout the state. We are humbled by the Davis’ generosity to help us achieve those goals in memory of Chuck, who was such a strong advocate for education and second chances.”
Helen said that Chuck would have loved to see everyone working together to support his passion. But, more than anything, he would have been proud of his children and grandchildren rallying for the cause.
“This is a wonderful legacy for Chuck,” Helen said. “That his children and grandchildren worked so hard to make this scholarship happen… it says great things about him, his life, the friendships he made and everything we have all learned from him.”