Founding Campbell Law Dean Davis passes

Leary DavisRALEIGH – It is with a very heavy heart that we share the passing of our founding dean, F. Leary Davis, Jr., on Thursday, July 20. He served as dean of Campbell Law in Buies Creek from 1975-86.  

Davis was 75 years old. His funeral is set for this Saturday, July, 22 at 4 p.m. at Zebulon Baptist Church in nearby Zebulon.

“We are incredibly saddened by this news,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard. “Leary Davis was a legal titan in North Carolina, and he will be sorely missed. There would be no Campbell Law School without his passion, determination and hard work. He set the mission and course for Campbell Law that we still follow to this day.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his incredible wife, Joy, and their entire family at this time.”

Davis was a pioneer in leadership development. In addition to consulting broadly on strategic and leadership issues, he taught military leadership as a tactical officer at the North Carolina National Guard’s officer candidate school in the 1960s, what is believed to be the nation’s first law school law and leadership course at Campbell in the 1980s, and major segments of a three week leadership course for Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, in 2009 and 2010. He was twice in residence at the Colorado Springs branch of the Center for Creative Leadership, as visiting scholar in 1993 and as visiting senior legal fellow in 2009.

Davis served as the founding dean of Campbell Law at its original campus, stepping away from private practice to help former Campbell University President and institution namesake Norman Adrian Wiggins build the law school. Immensely active in national, statewide and local bar and professional organizations, Davis contributed to research on the legal profession and higher education, and took part in countless civic projects. He served on the Governor’s Commission on the Future of North Carolina, the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, and was a founding member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s BarCARES Program. In 2009 he became the 32nd recipient in 50 years of the Association’s highest honor, the Judge John J. Parker Award.

Davis also served as the founding dean of the law school at Elon University beginning in 2005.

This past June, Davis and his wife, Joy, gave and pledged $150,000 to endow the Leary & Joy Davis Leadership Scholarship at Campbell Law. The family has asked that gifts be made to the scholarship in his honor. Click this link to make a gift.