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Southern University celebrates alumnus and retired Col. Paris Davis on receiving Medal of Honor nearly 60-year wait

Southern University alumnus and retired Army Col. Paris Davis receives Medal of Honor

After nearly 60 years, retired Army Col. Paris Davis, a Southern University and A&M College alumnus, has received the Medal of Honor for his courageous service in the Vietnam War. President Joe Biden awarded Davis today at a formal ceremony at the White House. Davis was one of the first Black officers in the elite Army Green Berets.

“We salute Col. Davis for his bravery and service to our nation as he finally receives the top honor for valor,” said Dennis J. Shields, president of the Southern University System. “We are extremely proud that he is a product of Southern University and our Army ROTC program. Col. Davis’ well-documented skill set, tenacity, and pioneering spirit are further proof that our university produces top talent and productive citizens. It is truly an honor for Southern to have this connection to Col. Davis.”

Lt. Col. David Marshall, Southern’s ROTC director, who works directly with today’s cadets, echoed the sentiments.

“Today we witnessed a moment in our beloved Southern University Army ROTC history as Col. Davis received the highest military decoration,” Marshall said. “Our cadets and the world can see even more that our program here at Southern, which is in its 75th year, has the capability of producing officers of value and unwavering dedication to our country.”

Davis, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, majored in political science at Southern on an ROTC scholarship. He was commissioned as an Army reserve armor officer in 1959 and retired as a colonel in 1985. He was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2019. According to the U.S. Army, Davis is one of only four service members in U.S. military history to receive both the Soldier's Medal and the Medal of Honor.

 Davis holds a master's degree in public affairs from Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in public administration from Northern Virginia University. After his retirement from the military, Davis published the Metro Herald newspaper for 30 years in Alexandria, Virginia, where he resides today.


For more on Davis’ career and the moments that led to the Medal of Honor, go to