Davis FamilyAlum inspired to create opportunities for students 

Born into a family in rural Richland County, Dr. Isaiah “Ike” Davis was surrounded by hard workers. "My mother and father loved school, and although they had some education, schools were not available to them," Davis said. 

Davis was the first in his family to graduate from college and the first to become a dentist. He says his parents encouraged him to take advantage of every educational opportunity.

One of those opportunities was a scholarship that helped pay his dental school tuition at MUSC. He says his education set him up for the years of success he’s enjoyed in private practice in Columbia. "Education is the single greatest avenue for a successful career in America," Davis said. "MUSC gave me an opportunity to prove myself and improve myself. For that, I am eternally grateful." 

Davis is paying it forward by creating a scholarship with a planned gift that names MUSC James B. Edwards (JBE) College of Dental Medicine as the owner and beneficiary of his life insurance policy. This gift will create an endowed scholarship for underrepresented students. 

"Gifts like these allow alumni to leave an even greater impact than they might imagine," Davis said.

Davis is no longer the only dentist in his family. His son, Dr. Isaiah “Ike” Davis Jr., graduated from JBE College of Dental Medicine in 2012. His wife and daughter are also MUSC alumnae. Davis' wife, Dr. Deborah J. Davis received her medical degree from MUSC in 1982. Their daughter, Dr. Melissa A. Davis, graduated from the MUSC College of Medicine in 2009. 

"MUSC is an institution that gives people an excellent opportunity,” Davis said. “It extends itself to those individuals who are underrepresented and I am inspired to reach out and give back. Everyone has different motivations. That's mine."