Sharon L. Davies is the president and CEO of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.
Davies’ career spans both academic and nonacademic fields. From 2017-2021, Davies was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Spelman College. She joined Spelman from The Ohio State University (OSU), where she was vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Davies was also a member of OSU’s Moritz College of Law faculty for 22 years, serving as the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. In addition, Davies directed the university’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary engaged research institute known nationally for its work in social justice, equity, and inclusion. She also held an appointment to the Ohio Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Davies was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Notes and Comments Editor of the Columbia Law Review while in law school at Columbia University. After graduation, she worked for Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C., and Lord, Day & Lord Barrett Smith in New York City. She served for five years as an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Davies was the recipient of a YWCA Woman of Achievement award from the YWCA Columbus chapter (2015); the Robert M. Duncan Award by the Columbus Chapter of the American Constitution Society (April 2014) in recognition of her contributions to democracy, fostering legal education, ensuring access to justice, and preserving individual rights and the rule of law; and the Liberty Bell Award from the Columbus Bar Association (June 2013).
Davies’ writing has been published in some of the nation’s leading law journals, including the Duke Law Journal, the Southern California Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems. In 2010, Oxford University Press published Davies’s narrative nonfiction account of a 1921 murder trial in Birmingham, Alabama, titled “Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America,” for which the mayor of Birmingham presented her with a “Key to the City.”
Davies serves on the advisory committee for the Campaign to Create the Julius Rosenwald & Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park, serves as a commissioner of the Council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset, and was included among the Dayton Business Journal’s Bizwomen Power50 2023. Davies has an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law.