By Gisselle Hernandez, Features Editor
Murray State’s President Robert Davies and his family are no stranger to cameras and a slew of reporters while attending events, but there’s more to the first lady and first daughter who adopted Murray State as their new home in 2014. The News sat down with wife Cindy Davies and daughter Katie Davies for an inside look into Murray State’s first family and what it’s really like adopting 10,000 students under their watchful wings.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between Oregon, where you were before Murray State, and Murray, Kentucky?
Katie Davies: The humidity. It’s not fun to be in the humidity during summer because soccer. We are practicing three hours a day in the humidity and we’re dead.
Cindy Davies: That’s the big difference. The weather. Right now, they’ve got many feet of snow, and we are lucky to be warm and dry and above freezing.
Q: When President Davies was named one of the presidential candidates for Murray State, what were your initial reactions?
KD: I was shocked.
CD: Katie didn’t know he applied, so when she heard he was a finalist she went, “Yes.”
KD: I took a careers class and so they told us to find top colleges based on your preference based on what you want to do and your interests, and Murray State popped up for me. I showed my parents.
CD: It was about two weeks later when Murray State contacted Bob and asked him to apply, so he said “I gotta apply.” We didn’t tell her until he became a finalist and she went, “Yes.”
Q: What do you miss the most from Oregon?
CD: Probably our friends. Being closer to family. We were really close to them, like a day’s drive, but we are still close to them because with the same amount of hours we can get on a plane and be there.
Q: Was there anything that surprised you once you moved to Murray State?
CD: Well, not that we weren’t used to, but we enjoyed the people. We didn’t know if we would enjoy living on campus, but we have really enjoyed living on campus because we are closer to the students, the activities and we can easily go to all the student activities on campus.
Q: So President Davies has said he has been a dad in a way, adopting 10,000 students. Do you feel like you have adopted 10,000 students as well?
CD: It’s funny – whenever we go to a basketball game or a big event, someone would say, “Well, which student are you here for?” And we would say, “All of them.” We do take a parental role, and Katie takes a friendship role as a sister or sibling to all the students. We really like the students, and I hope it’s reflected that they like us.
Q: President Davies posts a lot about family traditions on social media. What other traditions are there, and which one is your favorite?
CD: It’s funny – it all revolves around food in our family. Katie’s favorite is Thanksgiving morning, her and her dad make doughnuts. It started when she was about 2. Hanging on my leg, we had some men’s basketball members students coming for Thanksgiving because they had to stay on campus due to a tournament, and I’m trying to make dinner, and she’s hanging on my leg, and I said, “Bob, why don’t you take her somewhere?” So they went to Starbucks and got doughnuts and hot chocolate.
Q: Do you embrace the title of first lady, and is there any first lady you look up to?
CD: I don’t care for that title of First Lady just because it’s presumptuous. I think every lady is a first lady. I don’t know looking up to one, just those that are kind.
Q: What’s a typical day like in the Davies’ household?
KD: Well, get up, eat breakfast and go to school, come home and do homework.
CD: It’s a daily routine. One thing we have on our schedule that most people may not have is all the student events; all the concerts and athletic events and theater events, and we’ve really enjoyed doing those things with the students.
Q: Are there any funny/embarrassing habits President Davies does?
CD: Well, he has gotten into this funny thing with funny socks. Of course, they’re blue and gold – Murray State colors, but he wants to show his personality silently sometimes and sometimes in a bolder way, with fun socks. And that was started by a student on campus. It was a Jamaican student, I believe, because they were Jamaican colored socks and he went, “Oh, I like those socks.” And so shortly after that, he was collecting some blue and gold socks, showing his school spirit.
Q: So, how do you guys really feel about the fedora?
CD: Well, to quote a student that was on Facebook last week, “He’s just adorable.”
Q: What is your favorite thing to do together as a family?
CD: We like to go on a family vacation because it refocuses back on us because life gets a little crazy sometimes, with Katie going to her sporting events and her school events, and Bob going to all the university events. It’s one way we just reconnect, and we do enjoy that.
Q: President Davies said he wants this to be his “capstone presidency.” Can you picture Murray being your longtime home after his presidency?
CD: Most definitely, yeah. Katie wants to graduate from Murray High and go to Murray State, and it just feels like home here.
Q: What is the hardest part of being the First Family?
CD: Is there anything hard about it? Probably for Katie, it’s being in a bubble. Everybody knows her, everybody’s watching her. That would be hard.
KD: It’s also fun. It’s not hard.
CD: If she wasn’t such a good kid, it would be really hard, but she is a good kid.
Q: What’s your favorite part about being the First Family?
KD: I guess meeting all the people. It’s like a different level because there are different connections.
CD: Just being involved in the university is my favorite thing and seeing the students succeed, and that’s always very enjoyable.
Q: I know Katie was doing a fundraiser to go to Peru. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
KD: We are done selling blankets. My friend and I co-owned it and so we’re both going to Peru, and we raised over $12,000. It was crazy because we made each blanket, and at first it started with a lot of fabric, and all the parents said, “Yeah, they might sell 10 blankets.” And then it was over 300. It’s with the Spanish Club at Murray High.
Q: Is there any particular major event you look forward to the most?
KD: All Campus Sing.
CD: We do enjoy All Campus Sing. We enjoy the athletics – the football, the basketball….We look forward to all the sporting events and theatre events and choir and band. If we had to pick one, it would be All Campus Sing.
Q: Anything else you wanna add?
KD & CD: Go Racers!