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Released November 7, 2002
MUW loses beloved professor
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- On Nov. 6, 2002, Mississippi University for Women lost beloved political science professor David T. Evans, who was affectionately called Big Dave by members of The W family.
Evans, 68, who also served as director of academic advising, was MUW's longest standing employee with 40 years of service.
"Although I have had the pleasure of knowing Dave for only a few months, I am devastated at his loss. He was a wonderful man and a blessing to the campus and to all of us," said MUW President Claudia Limbert in a campus-wide email.
At least 6 feet and 3 inches tall, Evans was a towering man, but remembered for his gentle spirit and political savvy.
Bill Sorrels, a retired W communication faculty member and former managing editor of The Commercial Appeal (1969-1977), said, "He and I always enjoyed talking to each other. We considered ourselves newsmen."
Evans wrote a column on political issues for The Commercial Dispatch, the local newspaper, and was considered an expert on the presidency.
"It was hard to get him angry about things," Sorrels added. "I always thought of him as a friend and excellent professor. My greatest triumph was telling him that the abbreviation of microphone was m-i-k-e and not m-i-c."
Dr. Vagn K Hansen, MUW provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, "Dave applied his skills as a political scientist to help citizens understand politics through his newspaper columns. He recognized that people are the key to politics, and he wrote about political people. I have never known anyone with more insight into the way politics works than Dave Evans."
Past and current students said Evans, who made it a point to get to know students by writing their names in the palm of his hand, has touched so many lives and will be "sorely missed."
"Big Dave was part of my first exposure to The W. I guess in some ways that could be a scary thought. I had him and another guy also named Dave for my major area class at Governor's School in the summer of 1983. We called them `Big Dave' and `Little Dave' because they were like Mutt and Jeff. It was a class on leadership and I still have all the materials at home. I had some sort of lung problem in high school (probably a precursor to the asthma I now have) and Dave picked at me mercilessly (all in good nature) about the cough I had and sounding like I was going to cough up a lung any second. He would also remind me in later years about how much I had changed from the really shy, couldn't coax a word out of me person when I was in high school," said alumna Melany Aldridge ('84-`91) of Richmond, Ky.
National Alumni President Linda Ross Aldy ('73) said, "I cannot imagine the campus without Dave Evans. If an individual can be an institution, he was, and my life was richer for our paths crossing."
Student Government Association President Phillip Cockrell said, "He definitely had an impact on my life. He always offered words of encouragement to me and other students."
Evans who died unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday was born on Nov. 4, 1934.
While at MUW, he had served as Title III coordinator and charter member of the Mississippi Governor's School faculty.
A native of Pennsylvania, Evans received his A.B. and M.A. degrees in political science from West Virginia University.
He had been active in the National Foster Parent Association and served as its president from 1974 to 1978. He also was president of the International Council on Foster Care.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret, and seven children.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Annunciation Catholic Church. Visitation is from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Arrangements are being handled by Memorial Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the MUW Foundation for the David T. Evans Scholarship Fund, W-Box 1618, Columbus, MS 39701.
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