Class of ’71 Grad and Philanthropist Returns to Campus

Kathryn Davis Exemplifies Life-Long Learning


College classes seem to be full of students fresh out of high school working toward a degree, but this is not all students. Kathryn Davis, Mount Mary College graduate of  ‘71, is back on campus this semester, currently enrolled in World Civilization Part 1.

“It’s fun because I’ve been to Egypt, Rome, Turkey, and Greece,” she said. “I’ve been to the places we’ve been studying, and it makes [the history] come alive.”

This woman has seemingly done it all, yet she is always craving new knowledge.

“As an older person, you want to keep your brain active,” Davis said. “I love learning.”

Many years ago Davis studied fashion and was a buyer for a department store. Her career took her to New York where she met a young woman who changed her life forever. The pair decided to go to Europe, where she acquired a love for travelling  ever since.

“I spent two years hitchhiking through 15 countries,” Davis said.

Davis spent time exploring many different opportunities in Europe, which shaped her love for learning.  

“I got a job in Norway teaching conversational English,” she said. “I also worked in England with an archaeologist uncovering ruins for Hadrian’s Wall in Rome.”

Her life settled down when she came back to Wisconsin and married a naval officer. When her husband sadly passed away, she was a young single mother–and unemployed. This led her to one of the most influential decisions in her life.

“I did not have an education, and I needed to support my son,” Davis said. “I applied to Mount Mary in 1965.”

Her Mount Mary degree led to a job as a home economics teacher at Germantown High School. Davis is forever thankful for her education.

“I would not be where I am today without my education from Mount Mary,” Davis said.

Davis has given back to Mount Mary as much as possible. She started the Kathryn Maegli Davis Endowed Scholarship for a returning student or a single mother of junior or senior status.  She wanted to help women who are in the same situation as she once was. Davis is immensely proud of women who decide to receive an education while raising a child. She has even been able to meet those whom she has helped with her scholarship.

“They’re against all odds,” Davis said. “I call these women heroes for what they’re doing.”

Davis is never done accomplishing great things. In addition to being back in class, she is also  working on getting her own book published.

Davis has a message for anyone questioning the worth of going back to school at a non-traditional age.  “They should absolutely do it. . . I love being in class with younger people. Students have been very kind.”

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