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Sue Davis ’66

Alumni Award: Service

When Sue Davis ’66 retired 11 years ago from her post as chief of staff at the Social Security Administration (SSA), the last thing she thought she’d be doing is working with young people.

But then, after moving to Middletown, Del., and getting involved with a women’s club that gave money to something called HOBY, she was told the organization needed help.

“What the heck is HOBY and what kind of help do you need?” she asked. HOBY, it turned out, stands for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, an organization established by O’Brian in 1958 to promote leadership among high school sophomores. In the ’50s and ’60s, he was the star of the hit Western TV show The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

The organization needed judges for its annual Delaware seminar, which brings together one or two promising sophomores from each of the state’s high schools for a three-day weekend. From that seminar, two Delaware students are selected to attend HOBY’s annual world leadership conference.

“I hadn’t had any interactions with kids,” recalls Davis, who majored in business administration at Susquehanna and spent her entire career with the SSA. “I didn’t think I was interested in being with high school sophomores.” Nonetheless, since agreeing to be a judge in 2006, Davis has run the three-day seminar for 60 Delaware sophomores for the past five years and since 2010 has served as president of HOBY’s Delaware chapter.

Based at Wesley College in the capital city of Dover, the weekend includes speakers, community service activities, and a lot of leadership activities and games. O’Brian, who is 87, also speaks, either in person or via Skype.

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Suhs-kwuh-pee-dee-uh (n): A collection of experiences, topics, and personalities that makes Susquehanna University unique.


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