Nowadays, Davison sits at a desk in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. And behind him hangs a plaque that reads "Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for Breaking News in Photography."
Davison, the school's newest faculty member, was awarded journalism's highest honor for his contribution to a project documenting community reaction to the April 1999 murders at Columbine High School.
But it's what took place between the ditches and the Pulitzer that made him realize his desire to teach and help his students touch the world through photography.
After graduating from high school in 1978, Davison left his Ohio home, finding work in a series of odd jobs. His first job led him to Colorado where he worked in forestry.
Another job had him digging graves in Glenwood Springs, Colo., but Davison turned in his shovel shortly thereafter. "I realized I wasn't in the right place when I noticed that I was only 20, and I was working with 40- to 50-year-old men," he said. "I decided then that I needed to go to college. Unfortunately, I had no money."
Davison chose Colorado Mountain College, where one academic credit cost $15. "Colorado Mountain College had two really good programs: animal health technology and photography," he said. "I chose photography."
After two years, he earned an associate's degree in photography but could not find a job. He needed a four-year degree.
Davison enrolled at the University of Missouri and earned a bachelor of arts in photojournalism in two years.
But his job prospects were no more plentiful than before.