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Elease "Skip" Davis came to Lakeland to play football, and left with lifelong friends and the skills needed to enjoy a very successful career in information technology.
He was recruited by legendary coach Duane "Moose" Woltzen, and enjoyed a standout four-year varsity career at running back. In 1968, the team was undefeated. Elease, a two-year captain, was team MVP in 1969 and 1970 and was named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American in 1970, his senior year. Many years later, in 1997, Elease was inducted into the Lakeland Hall of Fame in the same year as his coach, John Thome, which was a proud moment.
When Elease first arrived at Lakeland, Dean Loren Tiede explained that if he maintained a 3.0 grade point average, he could receive an academic scholarship. The young star athlete from the south side of Chicago was determined to do well not only on the field, but in the classroom. He remembers fondly many professors, including Profs. Rath, Schilcutt and Ulrich. "I loved Professor Ulrich's philosophy classes and how he encouraged us to think." He also remembers history professor Robert Riles ("He helped me get some perspective") and a great French teacher, Nancy Brown ("I can't really speak French today, but I enjoyed the challenge of learning a new language.") Elease also remembers the care offered by Campus Center Director Dick Preuhs. "Dick was such a great guy. He watched out for us."
Elease majored in history and minored in education and economics. In reflecting on his education, what stands out the most for Elease is that he learned how to communicate. "I was coming from the south side of Chicago and had a very limited view of the world. At Lakeland, I was part of a diverse campus of people and ideas. My college experience opened up my eyes to a lot of different things and helped me learn how to communicate with all types of people. My education really prepared me to work in the business world."
After graduation and a short stint as a substitute teacher, Elease landed a position in sales at AT&T, where he worked for seven years. He went briefly to Xerox, then to Hewlett-Packard, and in 1986 Xerox asked him to return to work in management. He stayed there until 1997. He went into IT consulting and staffing and worked for Tech Soft and later Kelly Services, where he was a regional area manager in Cincinnati, Ohio until 2007. Since 2008, Elease has worked at Global Associates, a global IT consulting and staffing firm. He travels extensively for his work, and has been to India, Bali, Indonesia, Hawaii and all over the U.S. "When traveling is for work, it is not as much fun as it sounds!" he says, though he does try, to weave in a little vacation time, especially in Hawaii.
Elease spoke with great pride of his family. His wife, Yalanda, also works in IT sales. They blended their two families from previous marriages and now enjoy six daughters (Kimberly, Deanna, Epiphany, Shaundrea, Shaneel and Sharean) and 11 grandchildren. The youngest, a little girl name Morenikke Delaney, was born on April 26. Grandpa could not be prouder or happier.
In reminiscing on his Lakeland days, Elease says, "The thing about Lakeland is that I made lifetime friends: Louis and Nancy (Swain) Jones, Roy Evans, Reggie Williams and Tricia Hill."
And for new graduates, Elease said today's world requires a thick skin and persistent attitude. "Don't let anybody tell you that what you want to do can't be done. With God on your side, there is no way you can lose. All things are possible."