Davis founded the Summer Music Camp in 1963, shortly after arriving as a music faculty member. The camp has evolved into the UAF Summer Music Academy, which offers an intensive two-week program for students who have finished grades six through 12.
Davis was born in 1915 in Buffalo Center, Iowa. He showed early interest and ability in music; in the fourth grade he began teaching music to first graders.
Davis earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and began teaching high school in Knoxville, Iowa. During World War II, Davis served in the U.S. Army and then returned to teaching high school choir. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Iowa.
After joining the faculty in Fairbanks, Davis remained until his retirement in 1979. He and his wife, Beverly, raised four children in Fairbanks.
Davis conducted the Choir of the North's first European tour and led the university's music department to accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music. He served as president of the Fairbanks Concert Association and the Tanana Valley Council of Churches. He was a founding member and musical director of the Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre.
UAF's Charles W. Davis Concert Hall, a 1,100-seat auditorium completed in 1974, was named after him a decade later. Davis died in February 1994.
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