The Torchlighter Award is given by the Park University Alumni Association to recognize long-time support and service to Park University. The 2010 recipient of the Torchlighter Award is Heywood “Woody” Davis, outside legal counsel and long time friend of Park University.
The Davis, Sands and Collins law firm and its predecessors have represented Park University since the early 1930s. In the early 1960s Davis successfully represented Park in a suit against the University of Missouri that resulted in Park’s receipt of a $670,000 distribution from the Lena Hegg trust. He and the firm functioned as Park’s primary legal counsel until Park created its Office of General Counsel in 2004. Since then the Davis firm has continued to provide legal services to the University, in the employment law field.
Park is recognizing Davis not only for the high quality professional service he has provided to Park through the years, but also for his many other contributions to Park. Personally he has long supported Park as a donor and volunteer; for decades he has contributed to the Park Fund. The Davis firm has also consistently provided corporate support for Park’s annual Founders Day dinner and golf tournament. By bestowing the Torchlighter Award on Davis, Park is sincerely saying “thank you Woody for all you have done for Park University.
Davis is a graduate of the University of Kansas, receiving his bachelors degree in 1952 and his law degree in 1958. Before entering private practice he clerked for Justice Charles E. Whittaker of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1958-1959. He is co-author of Litigation Settlements in Probate Matters, Chapter 14, Missouri Litigation Settlements (Mo. Bar. 2nd ed.). Davis has served in many professional leadership roles, including as editor in chief, Kansas Law Review; president of the Kansas City Estate Planning Counsel (now Society); board of trustees president of Legal Aid of Western Missouri; Kansas City Lawyers Association, president; Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, chairman of the Probate & Estate Planning Committee; and The American College of Trust & Estate Counsel’s Fiduciary Litigation Committee. For eight years he served a Missouri Supreme Court appointment on the Jackson County Circuit Bar (disciplinary committee), including positions as General Chairman, and Division Three Chairman. He is a member of the Missouri Bar and the Kansas Bar Association.
A member of Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Mo., since 1944, he has served the congregation in a number of leadership positions. Since 1974 he has been a deacon several times, an elder several times, served on both the investment and nominating committees and can still be found performing the duties of usher for Sunday services on a regular basis.
The Torchlighter Award is the only Alumni Association recognition that may be given to non-alumni. When the recipient is not alumni, the status of honorary alumnus is conveyed to the recipient. Its members acknowledge Davis’ loyalty and support of the University and invite him to join their ranks as an honorary alumnus.