Davis received a ceremonial medallion along with the title Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Professor at the semester-opening gathering of about 500 UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members hosted by Chancellor Tom Harden.
“In Gregory Davis, we have a very worthy recipient of the Cofrin Professorship,” Harden said in making the presentation. “He has a tremendous record of interdisciplinary, problem-focused research using mathematics — specifically, environmental modeling — to understand ecological problems. His teaching and service to his students and the larger institution have been exemplary.”
Davis joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1987 after receiving his Ph.D. in mathematics from Northwestern University, where he also earned his master’s degree. He completed his undergraduate studies at UW-Green Bay in 1981, receiving his bachelor’s in Science and Environmental Change with concentrations in mathematics and physics.
He currently serves as chairperson of the Natural and Applied Sciences unit and a faculty member in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Among his research interests are mathematic modeling of biological and physical systems. He is known for a series of collaborations with faculty members on population dynamics, particularly birds including forest songbirds of Northern Wisconsin.
In 2010 he received the UW-Green Bay Founders Association Award for Excellence in the category of institutional development. He was credited with helping to shape policy and practice through service to groups responsible for guiding University research, graduate education, student conduct, instructional development and general education. He has also held the top elected positions in faculty government as chairperson of the University Committee and speaker of the Faculty Senate.
Named professorships are created through private gifts that support the study and research of a faculty member who has an outstanding record of scholarly accomplishment. The annual stipend associated with this particular professorship is for five years, but the recipient retains the title for life. Stipends are typically applied to research expenses or special projects benefitting students or service to the community.
The Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Professorship of Natural Sciences was established in 1985 by Dr. David and Mary Ann Cofrin, in memory of their late sister-in-law. Barbara Cofrin was a devoted mother, civic leader and supporter of education. Her children were instrumental in supporting the establishment of the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum on the UW-Green Bay campus. The Cofrin Professorship is specified for a full professor in the natural sciences who has a demonstrated commitment to scholarship and outreach.
Davis succeeds Prof. Robert Howe as current holder of the professorship, and is the fifth UW-Green Bay faculty member to be awarded the title. The others are Howe, Robert B. Wenger, Joseph M. Moran and Paul E. Sager.
UW-Green Bay currently has eight named professorships. Recipients are nominated by their peers and recommended for selection by a committee of senior faculty and academic leadership.