Dr. Ollie Watts Davis was born in Oak Hill, West Virginia and raised in Mount Hope, West Virginia. She moved to Champaign‐Urbana in August of 1980 with her husband, Rev. Dr. Harold D. Davis, to attend the University of Illinois as a graduate Fellow in music. A Professor of Music on the Voice faculty, in 2008 she was named a University Scholar, one of the highest recognitions bestowed upon faculty. She is Conductor of the University of Illinois Black Chorus, and Director of the biennial Black Sacred Music Symposium. She has released two CDs and has written two books for mentoring young girls as part of the TALKS Mentoring Leadership curriculum. She has also served on the Champaign‐Urbana Symphony Board of Directors, as a mentor in the Champaign Unit #4 District schools, and as the Choral Director for the Empty Tomb Ministry’s Children’s Arts Festival. She recently hosted the inaugural session of StudiO: the Ollie Watts Davis Vocal Institute for young singers. Dr. Davis attends Canaan Missionary Baptist Church and has served in the Music, Counseling, Children, Youth, and Evangelism Ministries.
Ollie was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.