Campus Profile: Ladies of Davis Cafe

Sometimes in college, especially as a first-year student, I find my tummy rumbling, my laundry unfolded in a heap on my dorm floor and a vague sort of longing that I can’t put my finger on.  That’s when I realize I miss my mother, her amazing home cooking, and her “I’ll hold you till you die” hugs. As kids (and let’s face it we really are just kids still) dropped in the middle of an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, and compounded with stress and work, sometimes we all reminisce a little about the quiet, safe, clarity and comfort of our childhood homes. And though home is only a call away, I know I can always count on one particular place on campus to help quell my homesick blues.

If you spend a lot of time in Union like I do, you’ll undoubtedly be confronted with the tremendously kind and overwhelmingly sweet cascade of smiles and knowing gazes of the ladies of Union (aka the lovely cashiers of Davis Café). These women, who, at least for me, make my heart pang a little less for home have become an integral and daily part of student life at Davidson. They are our friends, in some cases our confidants, and generally some of the sweetest people you’ll come to meet during your time here. And while it would be hard to profile all the amazing staff at Union, I’ve interviewed four of the lunch time cashier ladies, the ones who make sure you’re using all your meal swipe to its fullest, and pat you on your way with your Wildcat Burger in hand and a warm feeling in your heart.

Rosemarie Turner: Cashier at Davis Café

 (Nickname: Rosie)

When did you come to Davidson?

Came here in 1989. I just found out about Davidson College and I decided to work here. I grew up in a restaurant and I love people. I came from Minnesota. The name of the restaurant was Sparky’s Café (my dad’s nickname). I get along with the students so well because I grew up in a restaurant and all my kids are bigger. And I have ten grandchildren. I love to see the kids come in and visit.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love to chit chat with the students. I think we’re all like family. We treat everybody the same. I think it’s a friendly college and everybody loves everybody here. That’s how I feel.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories from Davis Café?

When Stephen Curry went here, I didn’t know ESPN was here. There were these people coming through asking me questions. I just said that I know his mom and dad and that he treats everybody great. And then they told me they were from ESPN. I had no idea.

Any trade union secrets?

When they come in here and they were gonna get coffee. I asked them if they like Starbucks and then I showed them how to make Starbucks at Davis café. (Check out Emily Sirota's article on Union Hacks to get the recipe!)

Best memory from working here?

A lot of times the students come here and say "my mom can’t come to the game, can you come?" This one particular swimmer said, my parents can’t come to my game, would you like to? So I said sure, I’ll go. And this one swimmer from across the pool hollars “Ms. Turner! Thank you for coming tonight.” And, I’ll tell ya, my heart just wanted to melt. It felt awesome. That’s how great the kids are here. They thank you for comin’ to anything. One other time I went to a basketball game. He came in here Monday morning and said thank you for coming. He knew exactly where I was sitting even with all those people there. That’s what kind of students we have. Appreciative.

Favorite food at Davis Café:  Grilled Chicken and Sweet potato fries.


Donna Francis


Time spent at Davidson: I’ve only been at Davidson for a year and a half.

Fave T.V show: I’ve gotten into “This is Us.” I’m getting involved in their drama.

Do you feel like you an the students have a special bond?

The students to me are like my kids. I have a 23- and 13-year-old. I was in college once a long long time ago, I can relate to the whole four years in college. I put my son through college and I understand the stress load, the workload, the juggling, the trying to balance homework and everything. I remember those days very very well.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love the people I work with. That’s the best part of my job. I come from a corporate environment. At my last job, I worked in a cubicle in front of a computer screen. I love the people here, especially the students. They sort of brighten up my day. I worked for lawyers before. It’s like night and day. My coworkers are also great. I just like talking to the international students. Like I remember talking to one student from Brazil and I was shocked. Like, why are you in North Carolina? I’d love to visit Brazil. I’ve met students from Australia, France, England. I always have interesting conversations with them. It broadens my horizons.

Fave food at Davis Café: Wildcat burger. I ate it everyday when I first came here. You’ve got to try it. It’s the bacon.


 Andrea Rodriguez

Time spent at Davidson: 8 years

Fave T.V Show: Gilmore Girls. I only started watching it because of the new one.

Favorite Boyfriend from Gilmore Girls: I think I love Dean so far. Milo was amazingly obviously but I think he was kind of jerky.

How would you describe your role here at Davidson?

Maternal. Obviously, we’re here to serve you. We’re kind of like a counselor, a confidant, and a friend. I ‘ve had times where students have come to me crying or needing advice. There’s one where this young man told me that I reminded me of his grandfather. And I was like gee, thanks. Then he said, “no hear me out”. “My grandfather spent a lifetime building a bunch of employees. He knew all his employees by name and he knew their families. And when he died, all his employees gave heartfelt messages about how he was so involved on a personal level in their lives.  And you reminded me of him. I see how you talk and interact with students. You ask us about our day, how our tests went. There’s probably not one person I know that doesn’t know you.”

Fave food at Davis Café: Asian Salad for right now.

Any funny or embarrassing stories you’d like to share?

Well today, I was about to eat my lunch and I had tomato soup sitting between my legs and it spilled. You can imagine how that looked being a woman with red sauce over her crotch.

Favorite Memory from working here:

Someone from the business office called me in and handed me a hundred dollar bill. There was a particular student who came here in the past. He was always having trouble with money and I would help him out here and there and so would other people. And apparently, he came back and said that he wanted to pay it forward.


Irsa Vargas

Time with Davidson: 2 years

Fave T.V Show: Oh my god, let me think. Oh my lord. Oh, yes. I love Hulu. I love watching football from Europe. Soccer. Madrid is the best.

Where are you from? : I’m from Costa Rica originally. 

Fave food at Davis cafe: I normally order something personal. Green and red peppers with onions, grilled chicken, and vegetables. Normally I try not to eat bread. Just salads.

What is your favorite part about working here?

I love work here. I love being around you guys. I have two daughters. And now I understand them more. The students are so nice and respectful.

Do you think you know many students by name?

I sometimes remember faces. Not always names. I’m terrible with names.