Charles Edward Ratliff '47
Charles Edward Ratliff Jr., first came to Davidson from Anson County in June of 1943 arriving as a sixteen-year-old freshman. But his short stay was soon interrupted after a year when he entered the United States Navy. Despite many choices of where to continue his education after the war, he returned to Davidson with his wife Mary Virginia to finish his degree in 1947 graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating he joined the faculty at the age of twenty years old. At that time, acting on a charge from Professor C.K. Brown, he embarked on a campaign to revitalize Davidson's economics curriculum. With the exception of graduate school and occasional sabbaticals to South Asia, Charlie taught at Davidson continuously form 1947 until 1992.
Charlie embodied Davidson's highest aspirations. He challenged his students in the classroom with intellectual rigor all the while encouraging them and the rest of the Davidson community towards a sense of individual responsibility and towards a life of social consciousness. He did this with a sense of humor, with grace, and with humility.
Charlie has influenced lives away from Davidson as well. He is the author of countless articles and several books that profoundly examine such areas as public finance, poverty and international development. Through these works he has sought to provide insight to how the world works, or should work
As Davidson's Kenan Professor of Economics, Charlie won numerous teaching awards. He was the first Davidson faculty member to receive the National Professor of the Year Award from the Council for Support of Education, Davidson's ODK Teaching Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award, and the prestigious Hunter-Hamilton Teaching Award. Such classroom and professional success earned him a place in Who's Who in America.
Because you have shaped countless lives as an extraordinary teacher; because you inspire others to your high standard of public service; and because this institution is stronger since you devoted your career to it, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Charles E. Ratliff, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, on the occasion of your 55th Reunion, April 20, 2002.