Professor of Biology Patricia Ann Peroni

​Patricia Ann Peroni, beloved professor and mentor, avid cyclist and hiker, enthusiastic kayaker, skilled knitter, and great friend to many died on December 24, 2019, of lung cancer.  

Pat was born on December 22, 1956, in Saranac Lake, NY to George and Frances Peroni.  Both her parents were WWII veterans and taught at Paul Smith’s College in Saranac Lake in forestry and culinary arts respectively.  Pat earned her BA in biology summa cum laude from SUNY Plattsburgh and a MLS from SUNY Albany.  

During her first job as a librarian at Bucknell University, she earned an MS in biology and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in botany from Duke University.  After a year at UNC Greensboro, she began teaching in the Biology Department at Davidson College in 1992, where she developed many courses in ecology, biostatistics, plant biology, environmental science, and introductory biology.  

Students especially loved her Dendrology course because it involved extensive field work opportunities to learn from trees.  She was also instrumental in developing and supporting Davidson’s Environmental Studies program.

Dr. Peroni’s research program focused on seeds and plants.  She published studies on the wildflower white campion, honeysuckle, maple trees, and ants.  Getting out into the woods to see the dynamics of the natural world delighted her.  She enthusiastically passed on her great appreciation for plants to her many students, colleagues, and friends. 

Pat particularly loved just being outdoors.  She became a proficient kayaker and was an avid hiker and cyclist.  She also kept a home in Galax, Virginia, so she could spend more time in the mountains.  She enjoyed creative craft projects and often visited the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts where she volunteered. 

Dozens of babies in and beyond Davidson have been warmed by her botanically accurate knitted hats resembling grapes, berries, lemons, tomatoes and more (complete with stems and leaves). 

Pat’s civic service focused on the Davidson Lands Conservancy, where she served two terms as a board member and mentored survey projects to identify and catalogue local plants.  She also willingly took on more mundane tasks involving the annual Run for the Green to support DLC’s work. 

Pat was predeceased by her parents and her older brother, Paul, who died at age five, and two much loved dogs, Hobo and Zoe.  She is survived by her dear brother Luke, his wife Jules, their children Colter and Whitney, as well as Pat’s adored pets, Palma and Jesse. 

A celebration in honor of Pat’s life will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2020, from 2:00-4:00 pm at Lake Campus.

Many will recall Pat as funny, innately generous, smart, witty, and forgiving.  Her laugh brightened our days.  Her courage and clarity of purpose at the end of her life is an inspiration to the many friends who banded together to help her navigate her final months. 

She is deeply mourned by family, colleagues, students, and friends. 


Richard C. “Dick” Burts, Jr. – Registrar Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Dr. Richard C. Burts, Jr.Dr. Richard C. Burts, Dean of Students, 1961-1970; Registrar, 1970-1985; and Professor of Psychology, 1961-1985

Richard C. “Dick” Burts, Jr., of Greenville, husband of Annamarie Booz Burts, died September 10, 2017, after an extended struggle with dementia.

Born November 11, 1919, in Rock Hill, he was the son of the late Richard C. and Mamie Norris Burts.

Dick graduated from Furman University in 1940 where he was a member of the SAE fraternity and the Quaternion Club. He received both a Master’s Degree and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he met and married his wife.

Dick devoted his career to serving as Dean of Students at Denison College in Granville, OH, Mercer University in Macon, GA, and Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

Dick served as a Deacon in the Baptist church and later as an Elder in the Presbyterian church. He was a loyal member of the Lions Club for over 50 years where he served as club president and as District Governor. He was awarded a Lion’s life membership and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow. He and his wife were recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition of their service to Davidson College and the town of Davidson, NC.

A resident of Rolling Green Village for 22 years, he assumed leadership roles as long as he was physically able to do so.

Survivors, in addition to his wife of 73 years, include his daughter Julie Cline of Simpsonville; his son Richard C. Burts, III, (Ann) of Raleigh, NC; four grand children, David M. Cline, Jr. (Chamblee) of Greenville, Wade Cline of Anderson, James R. Burts (Mitake) of Raleigh, NC, and Kathryn Jones (Jonathan) of Raleigh, NC; and eight great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister Eleanor Norris Burts of Bronxville, NY.

A Memorial Service will be held at Rolling Green Village on Saturday, September 16, 2017, at 3:00 PM. Dick donated his body to medical research at the Willed Body Program at the Greenville Heath System. Interment will take place at a later date.

The family is especially appreciative of the wonderful care provided by Homewell Senior Care and Lutheran Hospice.

Memorials may be sent to The Richard and Annamarie Burts Scholarship Fund at Davidson College, Davidson College Donor Relations, Box 7195, Davidson, NC 28035; to the Smith/ Smart Residents Support Endowment Fund at Rolling Green Village, Rolling Green Village, 1 Hoke Smith Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29615, ATTN: L ynn Lentz; or to a charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.

Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Southeast Chapel

Professor of Chemistry Horace Alden Bryan

Dr. Bryan, age 87, of Davidson, North Carolina, died November 21, 2015 at The Pines of Davidson Nursing Home, in Davidson, North Carolina.

He was born on January 1, 1928 in Bluff City, Tennessee.

Dr. Bryan served on the faculty of Davidson College from 1955 to 1993.  He was a Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Davidson College, having graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in 1955.

Dr. Bryan was a member of the American Chemical Society and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.  He was also a member of Davidson United Methodist Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Blanche Bryan.  He is survived by his brother, Dr. Eugene T. Bryan and his wife Toni Bryan and niece, Tracy Bryan White and her 2 sons Jonathan Bryson White and Brady Martin White and niece Stefanie Bryan Huber and her husband Craig Alan Huber and their children Maximilian Bryan Huber and Alexandra Daisy Huber.

A memorial service will be held January 8, 2016 at 2pm, at Davidson United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Davidson United Methodist Church or Bluff City United Methodist Church.

Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home is serving the family.

Jean Springer Cornell – Speech and Debate , 1971 to 1987

Jean Springer Cornell - Speech and Debate , 1971 to 1987Jean Springer Cornell passed away peacefully on November 17, 2015.

She was a former educator who taught at the University of Arizona, Scripps College, and was head of the Speech Department at Davidson College.

Jean was active in numerous professional organizations, coached national forensic tournaments, and was an ardent adventurer to far corners of the world; Africa, Alaska, China, Russia. Jean retired in October 1986 and returned to Tucson to be very involved with the University of Arizona and other community activities. Mrs. Cornell is survived by her godson, Dr. Tyler Kent of Tucson.


Copyright (c) 2015 The Arizona Daily Star

J. Harris Proctor – Political Science Professor

J. Harris Proctor, born in 1924 to Jesse and Rosa Proctor in Durham, NC, passed away peacefully on August 7th, 2015, while surrounded by his family under the compassionate care of the staff at Highland Farms Retirement Community in Black Mountain, NC, and Care Partners Hospice and Palliative Care.

He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Jane, and by three sons, Edward of Durham, NC, Thom and his wife Pam of Berlin, Germany, and Ken and his wife Sandy of Bangor, Maine, as well as his brother, S. Fletcher Proctor and his wife Rich of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

After earning his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University, Harris embarked on a distinguished academic career spanning more than 60 years teaching at MIT, American University in Cairo, Duke University, University of Nairobi, University of Dar es Salaam, and the University of Delhi before finishing his teaching career with 21 years at his beloved Davidson College.

He traveled extensively, publishing his research on government and politics in the West Indies, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, The Gambia, Senegal, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Swaziland, Malawi, the United Kingdom, Malta and India.

Harris and Jane have lived at Highland Farms since 2001 where they enjoyed the community spirit in the beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. They loved to walk the trails of the Black Mountain area and watch the bird life on “their”pond. He was a good friend, father, husband, and brother.

A memorial service for Harris will be held at Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church in Swannanoa, NC, where he and Jane are members, at 2pm on Friday, August 14th.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the J. Harris Proctor Political Science Award Fund at Davidson College, PO Box 7174, Davidson, NC 28035-7174.

Copyright (c) 2015 The Charlotte Observer