A shift to finance proves economic

Kevin Davis

At Flinders University Professor Kevin Davis AM discovered his love for learning and the beginning of his long academic career.

As one of the very first cohorts at the newly established university, Professor Davis AM (BEc(Hons) ’71) began his Economics degree at Flinders in 1967.

‘While Flinders provided me with a good grounding in economics, it also instilled in me that it was important that academics need to have one foot in the practical world and be able to contribute to policy debate,’ says Professor Davis.

As a result, throughout his career Professor Davis has undertaken a great deal of consulting and policy development, along with contributing to a range of academic publications.

After graduating, Professor Davis studied a Master of Economics at Australian National University before embarking on a PhD at the University of Essex in the UK, with support from a Flinders Overseas Scholarship.

Before he could complete his PhD, Professor Davis was lured back to Adelaide with a Senior Lecturer appointment at the University of Adelaide. At the same time, he undertook further research and collaborations with Flinders staff including eight editions of State of Play – the biggest selling economics text in Australia.

In a shift from economics to finance, in 1989 Professor Davis became Chair of Finance in the Accounting and Business Law Department at The University of Melbourne.

‘The shift into finance was a lucky break,’ says Professor Davis. ‘Around that time finance grew markedly as an academic discipline relative to economics, and the finance sector and regulatory/policy issues also became more prominent.’

In 2005 he became the Director of the Melbourne (now Australian) Centre for Financial Studies – a collaboration between Melbourne, Monash and RMIT universities.

Professor Davis cites that contributing to financial sector policy reform and the Australian Financial System Inquiry are the greatest accomplishments of his career. Along with his 2019 appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to higher education in the field of finance and financial policy.

As a graduate of Flinders it has been important to Professor Davis to give back and support students at the University who are in need, by donating to Flinders University’s Scholarship Fund.

‘I was fortunate to be a recipient of a Legacy Scholarship during my undergraduate years and later awarded a Flinders Overseas Scholarship, which assisted me in pursuing an academic career,’ says Professor Davis. ‘It seems only appropriate that I contribute towards assisting others in pursuing studies and achieving their goals.’

He hopes the scholarship support will enable students to access and experience a university education with less financial pressure.

Professor Davis is now looking forward to retiring from his role as Professor of Finance at The University of Melbourne at the end of 2020.

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