Nursing professor retires after 36 years

Director of the Presidential Mentors Academy Ernestine Davis discusses why she came to UNA. “I came here in 1980, and that was the best decision I ever made,” she said. “I love UNA. It’s a wonderful environment.”

Director of Presidential Mentors Academy Ernestine Davis was a permanent fixture in the Anderson College of Nursing for 36 years, but this year she retires.

Davis celebrated her retirement Sept. 20. She said while she is retiring from her position as a nursing professor, she will still work at UNA.

“After 36 years, don’t you think it’s time for someone to retire?” she said. “It’s time to do something a little different. I really wanted to put more time into the Presidential Mentors Academy.”

She said she will try to work at UNA as long as she can.

“As long as my health holds out, and I can have an impact on students’ lives, I will stay,” she said.

Senior Khari Bolden said he first met Davis when he applied to the PMA program.

“My first meeting with Dr. Davis was not intimidating, but she expects a lot out of her students, so I felt that,” he said. “She sees the potential that every student has and their capabilities.”

Davis said she reminds some students of their parents.

“Students know that I’m going to be honest with them,” she said. “They might not like it, but I’m not going to tell them what they want to hear. They always tell me that I act just like their mom. One student even said that I acted like their father.”

Bolden said Davis is a caring person.

“She’s on your side, but she shows you a lot of tough love, too,” he said.

Senior Jocelyn Barnes said she enjoys Davis’ enthusiasm.

“She’s so passionate about UNA and PMA,” Barnes said. “She really cares about the students she encounters and impacts on a day to day basis. She wants us to strive to do our best and I love that about her.”

Davis said when she is not working, she is camping.

“I like to go camping,” she said. “I have a motor home that I drive myself. I like to camp over at Joe Wheeler. When I go camping, I’m a loner. I like to go by myself and just have a relaxing time.”

She said she also loves antique cars.

“I don’t know how to work on them, but if I had a place where I could buy antique cars, I would buy them and just have them all around my house,” she said.

Davis said she loves helping students the most.

“I care about all students,” she said. “I like to see students succeed. My greatest joy is seeing students walk across the stage and get that diploma because I know they have finally achieved what they wanted to do.”

Davis said her favorite part about being at UNA is the people.

“When I’ve had ideas or suggestions, the presidents have always been open and accepting of them,” she said. “People are always willing to listen, but you have to have a good reason for those suggestions. Most of the ideas I have brought up have been implemented.”

Bolden said Davis brings great contributions to the campus.

“I really appreciate her and what she’s done for not only PMA but also for her field,” he said. “She has worked harder and harder every year since I’ve been here. She’s continued to have new ideas. I think the university needs people like her who continue to push students.”

Davis said she is glad she came to UNA.

“I came here in 1980, and that was the best decision I ever made,” she said. “I love UNA. It’s a wonderful environment.”