A Visionary Force for Art and Davidson

Joan Huntley and Amy Clemmons King

Joan Huntley and Amy Clemmons King '97

Joan Huntley never had a Davidson diploma with her name on it hanging in the home she shared with her husband, Bob, Class of 1947, but she enthusiastically adopted the college as her own.

"I'll remember Joan for her thoughtfulness, her indominable spirit and her dogged pursuit of progress," says Joan's close friend, Amy Clemmons King '97. "It is fitting that her gift will support Davidson in its ongoing progress and in adding to experiences throughout campus."

Joan and Amy met through Amy's parents, who lived near Huntley in Chapel Hill, and the two bonded over a shared love of Davidson and a shared love of art, particularly 19th century Barbizon paintings.

"She knew that if you believed in something, you could make it happen," Amy says. "That's how Davidson's Art Collection Advisory Committee [ACAC] came to be. She had been to museums at other private colleges, and she knew Davidson could attain that kind of collection if enough people got behind it. And then of course she roped me into it."

It's no surprise that Joan became known as the "godmother of the ACAC." Her estate gift will aid in the group's efforts through the Joan Huntley Art Acquisition Fund, supporting the addition of new works to enhance campus and the curriculum.

"Joan loved great art and was a passionate advocate for Davidson," says Lia Newman, director and curator of the college's Van Every/Smith Galleries. "She was the visionary force behind the ACAC, and this endowed fund is a fitting way to honor Joan's vision and leadership."

Joan, who also served Davidson as a lifetime member of the board of visitors, attended Mary Washington College (now University) and UNC Chapel Hill, earning advanced degrees in public health during a time when women did not get those kinds of degrees; she was often the only woman in the room. She was famous for bringing people together, a real connector.

"Joan was a force, always a positive one—and there was nothing she loved more than a Davidson student," says Amy. "She would rent out a room in her home to UNC graduate students, but it was only available to Davidson grads. I'm happy to know her legacy will continue at a place she valued so deeply."