Meet Mr. Rot
Learn about dining services’ general manager
The long lines and over-crowded tables in the post-Convocation rush at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall — also known as the “Rot” — is where Duane “Duke” Davis said he feels most at home.
Davis, 48, is the general manager of Liberty University Dining Services, but most know him by his student-given nickname.
“A few of the students came up to me one time and told me, ‘You have a new nickname. We don’t know if you know what it is,’ and they told me some students have been calling me Mr. Rot,” Davis said. “I’ve lived with that name for the last year and a half, and I’m still embracing it.”
Before Davis began his career at the “Rot” in February 2014, he started his career in food service at a fine dining restaurant right after college — where Davis majored in business management.
He later became a training manager at T.G.I. Friday’s and started his own restaurant before getting his current job at Sodexo.
To Davis, his current job stands out from those before. After six years of working at Sodexo and being posted at six different college campuses, Davis said he loves working at Liberty because of the students and the school’s dynamic environment.
“It’s really just about the students for me, who are awesome, and the facilities are great to the vision of the campus (which) is so progressive,” Davis said. “I love being a part of making Liberty what it is now.”
As general manager, Davis is in charge of all dining services on Liberty’s campus. He oversees the staff at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall along with all other retail locations, and he manages event catering and concessions carried out by Sodexo.
Davis said his number one priority as general manager is servicing the needs of the students. In the past, he has talked with student government representatives and students while they are eating lunch to find out where they think dining services can improve.
Specifically, Davis focuses on enforcing and maintaining high standards at all of the dining locations on campus.
“I want to improve service and quality and be able to serve students in a timely manner so they’re not waiting in long lines to get fed, especially with the overall engagement and bringing new innovation and fun to the campus,” Davis said.
To work at Liberty, Davis lives away from his family during the week. Though he owns a house in the Raleigh area, he lives in an apartment he rents locally in Lynchburg during the week and commutes back to see his family during the weekend. Despite the constant commute, Davis said his job at Sodexo let him stay more connected with his children while they were in high school.
“You’re not doing that day-to-day grind with long weekends,” Davis said. “My kids are in college now, so it was great being able to see them progress through their high school careers with their sports. I wouldn’t have been able to do (that) in the restaurant world.”
In the future, Davis said he hopes to further advance his career with Sodexo by securing the job of district manager, which would allow him to further be involved with Liberty’s on-campus growth.
“I’ve worked at colleges where there is no growth, no renovations and no changes or improvements being made,” Davis said. “Being at Liberty, it’s different. They have such big plans, and I want to be a part of that. I want (to) help grow Liberty and be the face of dining services.”