Inger P. Davis, Ph.D. – Danish-American Fulbright pioneer and trailblazer dedicated to serve at-risk children in America during her long professional and practical life.

Inger might very likely have found this headline to be a little too much. Her childhood was spent in the western part of Denmark, a place where you were not supposed to stand out or be too self-praising and she carried this attitude with her through her life. She matched it with a keen intelligence, a wish to serve, and a bit of stubbornness when she knew she had to go in a certain direction – and that knowledge seemed for Inger always to be equally based in her heart and in her professionalism.

Inger has now left us after a long and impressive life, and she will be equally missed in both the U.S.A. and in Denmark.

She received a Fulbright grant from Denmark early on (and many other grants), and her entire academic education took place in the U.S.A – two Master’s degrees and a Ph.D. degree from University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.

Through her life, Inger taught, published, and was one of the founders of CASRC, Child & Adolescent Services Research Center, University of San Diego. Here most of her empirical research, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, took place. She always said about herself that she was a human service educator, a researcher, and a practitioner, and it was all about ensuring that at-risk children got the help they needed from the service delivery systems they and their families were so dependent on. Through her research, she worked on finding ways of making everyone work together in a better, more trustful manner to benefit the children in question so they would not get lost in the bureaucratic systems of the police, lawyers, social workers, and health practitioners. Negotiating these systems may sound simple, but Inger had stories to tell and research to show the opposite. But she seemed to always work on the trust that everyone actually wanted to do the best.

The U.S.A. became Inger’s beloved home during her long life, but she always kept contact with her sister and the place she came from in Denmark. For the last 25 years, the visits to Denmark would also usually incorporate a cup of coffee and Danish cookies at the Fulbright office with conversations about her ideas and continued involvement. She remained grateful for the chances she got because of Fulbright, and she always talked about how few women, and maybe especially from the provinces, in her time would get the possibilities she had received.  Trying to tell her she had both deserved them and worked for them would always only be met with a laugh. But one thing that especially stands out from these conversations was Inger’s never wavering dedication, moral compass, and how she in her gentle, yet strong way expected nothing less from anyone else.

To have known Inger is a privilege, and it can only be hoped that somebody will continue her important work. She brings honor to the Fulbright Program, and always remained true to its values. In that spirit, she generously left a donation to Fulbright Denmark, for which we are very grateful. In recognition of her work and to honor this friend of Denmark and the U.S.A., the Board has decided to develop a grant within her areas and in her name:

Fulbright Denmark: The Inger P. Davis Grant in Social Science.

All honor to her name!