Terry, William Holt

(b. 1932 d. 2015) Reverend William Holt Terry, ‘54, D.D., was thirty-eight when he became the Dean of Students at Davidson College in 1970, the role in which he is best remembered. Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Terry earned his B.S. degree from Davidson College and his Master of Ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary of Richmond in 1958. A man who was never truly content to finish his schooling, he later acquired his Doctor of Ministry from Union Seminary of Richmond in 1986. Prior to becoming Dean of Students, Terry served as the pastor of Davidson College Presbyterian Church, the secretary of the college’s YMCA, the school’s chaplain, and the pastor of Acme Presbyterian Church in Riegelwood, North Carolina. Will Terry’s years at Davidson as a student, staffer, and administrator saw vast changes in the institution, including coeducation, integration, the shifting spiritual landscape, and changing relationships between college administration and the student body. When he retired in 1994, former students, administrators, and friends of the college founded the William Holt Terry Scholarship in his honor, a fund which later expanded to include a fellowship component.

William Holt Terry first came to Davidson as a member of the class of 1954. He returned in 1962 as the college chaplain and again in 1971 to be Dean of Students. He retired from Davidson in 1994 and in the decade between his retirement and his death in 2015, he remained actively engaged and interested in the college. The decades between 1950 and 2015 brought many changes to the college and as a student, chaplain and dean, Will Terry shaped and was shaped by them.

During the summer of 2015, two Davidson students, Desmond Niegowski and Eleanor Yarboro, researched Will Terry’s life and Davidson College student life through a Davidson Research Initiative grant. Working with Professor Shireen Campbell, they created this history.

William Holt Terry By the Decades:
1950-19591960-1969, 1970-19791980-19891990-19992000-2015

Student Life:  1950s1970s

Davidson College Chaplaincy Timeline

Admissions and Coeducation

Oral History Transcriptions: Rob Spach    Loyce Davis and Joyce Hight    Leland Park

Author: Eleanor Yarboro with Jan Blodgett

Date: 6 October 2015

Cite as: Yarboro Eleanor. “Terry, William Holt,” Davidson Encyclopedia, 6 October 2014 <https://digitalprojects.davidson.edu/omeka/s/college-archives-davidson-encyclopedia/page/terry-william-holt>

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