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APRIL 7, 2003
CONTACT:Mike Stepanovich at 661/664-2456 or


Doug Davis, longtime music professor at California State University, Bakersfield, has been named one of five recipients of the 2003 Wang Family Excellence Award, given annually by the California State University.

The Wang award, with a $20,000 prize for each recipient, was established in fall 1998 when then-CSU Trustee Stanley T. Wang gave the CSU system $1 million - the largest donation ever given to the system by an individual - to reward outstanding faculty and administrators. The award recognizes CSU faculty and administrators who have distinguished themselves through exemplary contributions and achievements in their academic disciplines and areas of assignment. The awards will be given annually through 2007.

Wang, who served as a CSU Trustee from 1994 to 2002, is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Pantronix Corp., based in Fremont. The Wang Family Excellence Award is administered through the CSU Foundation. Each year, campus presidents may nominate one faculty member from each of the four discipline categories and one administrator.

The faculty winners are selected from four academic areas:

  • Visual and Performing Arts and Letters.

  • Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Science and Engineering.

    Like Mozart, Mendelssohn was a child prodigy, Mehling said. "He composed the amazing 'Midsummer Night's Dream' at age 17."

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Public Service.

  • Education, and Professional and Applied Sciences Fields.

    Davis was the winner in the visual and performing arts and letters category.

    Davis is the third CSUB faculty member to win one of the prestigious awards. English professor Michael Flachmann and philosophy professor Jacqueline Kegley won Wang Awards in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

    "The awards honor faculty who have made remarkable contributions to students, the advancement of their respective campuses and to the CSU," Wang said. "It gives me great pleasure to honor these outstanding faculty."

    The Other Four Winners Are:

  • David Pagni, CSU Fullerton, natural sciences.

  • Robert Blackley, CSU San Bernardino, social and behavioral sciences.

  • Cynthia A. Daley, CSU Chico, education.

  • Claire Palmerino, CSU Fullerton, administrator.

    The five winners will be presented their awards in May, following the CSU Trustees meeting. They were chosen from more than 120 nominees from the 23 campuses in the CSU.

    CSUB President Tomas Arciniega said he was delighted that Davis had been awarded the Wang Family Excellence Award. "Doug Davis has made a truly remarkable contribution to both the California State University and CSU Bakersfield," he said. "We all know of the Bakersfield Jazz Festival and the jazz coffee houses. Doug has made CSUB a Mecca for jazz in this state. What the campus knows less about is the tremendous success of Doug's students and jazz groups in regional and national competitions, and the acclaim his musical works receive as they are played by European and American musicians and orchestras. He has been tireless in his work with young musicians throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley. We are very proud of his award; he is truly deserving of this recognition."

    Davis, who came to CSUB in 1982, is the director of the CSUB jazz program and organizer of the Bakersfield Jazz Festival. He received his bachelor of music at the University of Tennessee, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Kappa Phi. He continued his studies at Harvard University, where he received his master's and doctorate degrees in musical composition.

    While at Harvard, Davis studied composition with Earl Kim, Leon Kirchner, Lukas Foss and Arthur Berger, and was selected by Leonard Bernstein to be the student representative for the Norton Lectures Discussion Group. In addition, Davis received the Harvard Graduate Prize in composition four of the five years of his residency. He is the winner of numerous fellowships, including the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, and the Paine Traveling Fellowship. His compositions have also been awarded the Contemporary Recording Society Composition Prize, Knoxville Symphony, David Van Vactor, and Delyz Composition for Dance Prize. His compositions "Love Letter," for voice; "Token," for voice and orchestra; and "Psalm for an Orange Angel," for orchestra, have all been recorded.

    Among the jazz artists who have recorded his works on various labels are Chick Corea, Bennie Wallace, Eddie Gomez, Larry Coryell, Dannie Richmond and Steve Marcus. In addition, Davis has performed in concert with numerous jazz recording artists including Michael Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Pete Christlieb, Glen Moore, Jack Six and John Dearth.

    Davis was named Professor of the Year in 1987 by the CSUB Alumni Association, and was named CSUB Outstanding Professor in 1989. He was also awarded the Arts Council of Kern award for outstanding creative achievement in music in 1997.

    Davis was typically humble when he heard about the award. “This award is the result of many years of good fortune as well as a bit of hard work,” he said. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take the job at CSUB, and then lucky enough that that job would ask of me to use my training in composition as well as provide an outlet for my love of jazz improvisation. In our community most recognize me in connection with the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, which has become a wonderful celebration for our community. But certainly we all must realize that a lot of people's efforts make our jazz festival so successful, including the efforts of many of the staff members and faculty on our campus. Certainly in a large part this award to me also honors the efforts of the entire campus and community.”

    Davis said he planned to use a portion of the prize money to “endow a scholarship that will be directly related to students who are creating music and performing music by composers of our time.”