A three-year campaign to finance a new scholarship for a student from an underrepresented background in the name of Senior Admissions Officer David L. Evans has raised four times its $250,000 target and is already helping three Harvard College students.
The success of the David L. Evans Scholarship fundraising was announced Sept. 30 at the keynote dinner of the 2006 Black Alumni Weekend, which drew a record crowd of about 800 alumni, faculty, students, staff, and visitors to the campus.
Martha Newton ’79 who, with co-chair Raymond McGuire ’79, led the campaign, said 600 contributors had donated more than $1 million for the scholarship fund. The fund, coordinated for the Harvard Fund by Andrea Karls, was established in honor of Evans, who has acted as a mentor, advocate, and guide for Harvard College students, and especially minority students, since he arrived at the University in 1970.
“I was at first surprised when the David L. Evans Scholarship was established to raise $250,000 in 2003 and almost overwhelmed with gratitude at the announcement of its success,” Evans said. “To think that hundreds of alumni and friends deemed me a worthy conduit through which to give to Harvard financial aid is a life-changing experience.”
The announcement was just one highlight of a successful Black Alumni Weekend, which is held every three years. This year’s reunion featured a variety of events, including a Dubois Institute open house, speeches, small sessions on various topics led by prominent alumni, and dinner Saturday evening (Sept. 30).
Evans said he was encouraged by the weekend’s turnout because attendance at the 1997 and 2000 reunions had been somewhat disappointing. He attributed this to the experience of black students in the late 1960s and 1970s, who were on campus during the turmoil of the era, the Vietnam War, and campus protests. The growing attendance at the past two reunion weekends shows that efforts to reconnect with those alumni are succeeding.
“That was a turbulent time for everybody, especially so for black folk,” Evans said.
Evans was there through those tumultuous years, recruiting and supporting students of all backgrounds, but lending particular help to minority students. He’s doing the same job today, and the scholarship in his name is helping three undergraduates: Courtney Kennedy and Rachel Banks, both of the class of ’09, and Christian Free ’10.
“David Evans is a benevolent soul who represents creativity, diversity, and hard work. His extensive background as a scholar, minority leader, and admissions officer proves that he is devoted to the advancement of education for all people,” Banks said. “Without this scholarship, I could not fulfill my dreams of receiving an education at this university. As an Evans scholar, I am committed to furthering his legacy of equality, charity, and intellectual achievement to the best of my abilities.”
While there has been some talk of establishing a new formal fundraising goal for the Evans Scholarship fund, one has not yet been set, Newton said, adding that organizers expect contributions to continue. They are, therefore, encouraging alumni to designate annual and reunion gifts to the David L. Evans Scholarship Fund on an ongoing basis.