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Four distinguished former faculty members to receive Trees of Honor

Published on Sep 27, 2014 by Paul K. Logsdon


SPRINGFIELD, MO — The Evangel University Alumni Association will honor four former members of the faculty for their exemplary service to the university on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

A Trees of Honor ceremony will be held at noon during the Homecoming Celebration Luncheon in the University Plaza Convention Center. This year, all four recipients will be present. The Trees of Honor project began as an idea formed by a small group of graduates from the early 1960’s and took root following Springfield’s great ice storm of 2007. The idea was to help replace lost trees and restore the natural beauty of the campus.

With this year’s group, 21 people have been honored on Evangel’s campus, acknowledging the legacy of service each recipient has provided to the university. An engraved bronze plaque has been placed at the base of each tree as a permanent tribute to the person being honored.

Join us by registering here: The following individuals will be recognized this year — all hold the title professor emeritus:

FB-HC14 Trees x4 photo
Trees of Honor recipients for 2014 are (from left to right): Dr. Zenas Bicket, Dr. Steve Davidson, Dr. Billie Davis and Mr. John Shows.

Dr. Zenas Bicket

Dr. Zenas Bicket taught English at Evangel from 1964-1985 and served as academic dean for nearly 19 of those years. As academic dean, he helped the college secure reaccreditation during a crucial time in the school’s history. He has four books published, as well as numerous articles and position papers. “He was a natural teacher,” said Debbie Bicket, daughter and current Evangel professor. “He preferred the classroom over administration, but still stepped up to the plate when he was asked. We are proud of his legacy. He touched the lives of so many people, yet he remained a humble and kind man.” Bicket earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Bible College and taught there 1955-1964. Following Evangel, he became a dean, and later president at what is now known as Global University. FULL STORY on Prof. Bicket:

Dr. Steve Davidson

Dr. Steve Davidson spent 38 years as a professor of biology at Evangel before retiring in 1996. From 1961 to 1971 he served as the chair of the science and technology department. In 1958 he was offered the directorship of a new USDA research laboratory in Texas, a job he turned down in favor of the invitation to join the faculty at Evangel. One of his most enduring legacies is the popular marine biology excursion to the Florida Keys, which he founded in the early 1970s. He was given the Distinguished Service Award by the university in 1983. “Dad has been a life-long learner,” said Mark Davidson, Evangel alumnus and son of Davidson. “He continues to have a passion for learning new things, and one of his greatest joys is sharing what he has learned.” FULL STORY on Prof. Davidson:

Dr. Billie Davis

Dr. Billie Davis joined the Evangel faculty in 1981 and served in a full-time capacity for 11 years. In 1986 she stepped into a role as the Department Chair of Behavioral Science, a position she held for 6 years. Davis is recognized as the founder of Evangel’s social work program, leading it to accreditation with the Council for Social Work Education. Davis grew up as the child of migrant workers, and those early experiences shaped her approach in life. She came to national prominence in 1952 when the Saturday Evening Post ran her story, “I was a Hobo Kid.” The story was then turned into a film by the National Education Association, and was shown in schools for decades to follow. Before coming to Evangel, Davis spent time as a missionary in Latin America with her husband, Reverend George Davis. FULL STORY on Prof. Davis:

John Shows

John Shows served as professor of music and director of bands at Evangel — he joined the faculty in the fall of 1966, just three months after graduating from Evangel’s music program. He spent the next 41 years in service to Evangel, including 26 years as chair of the Department of Music. The Barnett Fine Arts Center was completed during his tenure. In 2008, Shows was named Music Administrator of the Year by the Missouri Music Educators Association. “John was an outstanding teacher and conductor who was, and still is, passionate about Evangel,” said Michael Kolstad, a former student of Shows and vice president for university advancement at Evangel University. “He was an outstanding leader as the chair of the music department.” FULL STORY on Prof. Shows:

For more information about any of the awardees, contact University Advancement at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7333.