The naming of a two mile section of Interstate 35 near Stillwater after Nancy Randolph Davis will be celebrated at a dedication ceremony and reception on Thursday, November 1 in Stillwater, according to State Sen. Anastasia Pittman. The event will be held from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Oklahoma State University in The Council Room, located on the 4th floor in the Student Union. The public is invited to attend.
Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, authored legislation this spring designating the section of I-35 in Payne County beginning one mile south of State Highway 51 extending north for two miles as the “Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway”.
Davis, a native of Sapulpa, graduated from Langston University in 1948 and was a high school teacher when she was the first African American to enroll at OSU, which at that time was Oklahoma A&M. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Home Economics in 1952 and taught at Dunjee High School and later Star Spencer High School, before retiring from Oklahoma public education after 43 years of service. Randolph Davis died in 2015 at the age of 88.
“Celebrating and honoring the courage and persistence of Nancy Randolph Davis is a wonderful opportunity to commemorate an accomplished Oklahoman,” said Pittman. “Many African American students have been inspired by her pioneering leadership for years and it’s notable to celebrate her legacy again this week with the newly designated Nancy Randolph Davis Memorial Highway.”
Oklahoma State named Davis a “Distinguished Alumna” in 1999 and offers three scholarships in her name. OSU also celebrates “Nancy Randolph Davis Day” every February during Black History Month. Outside of Stillwater, she has been the recipient of many honors for her dedication as an educational pioneer and human rights activist. In 1991, Governor David Walters appointed Davis as the first lay member of the Oklahoma Nursing Board; in 1999, she was honored as an OSU Distinguished Alumna; in 2008, she was awarded the Oklahoma Human Rights Award; and in 2009, she was awarded the College of Human Sciences Enhancing Human Lives Award.
“This week’s celebration is a collaborative effort of many who admired Nancy Randolph Davis,” said Pittman. “I’m especially thankful to Dr. Nancy Lynn Davis and the Davis family for their cooperation and grateful to Dr. Jason Kirksey, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and the Chief Diversity Officer at Oklahoma State University for sponsoring the new signage and dedication ceremony.”