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Arthur Grant Evans

Educator and minister Arthur Grant Evans served as the second president of the University of Oklahoma (OU) from July 1, 1908, to May 24, 1911. He was born in Madras, India, on September 9, 1858, to English parents, Rev. E. J. and Caroline Taylor Evans. Educated in London schools, he received a bachelor's degree from Borough Road College. Evans was a teacher and Presbyterian minister before coming to North America in 1883. He resided briefly in Canada. In summer 1884 he met Robert L. Owen, who offered him a position in the Cherokee Male Seminary near Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. In 1891 Evans married Katherine Robb, whose family lived in Muskogee. Eight years later he became president of Muskogee's Henry Kendall College (now the University of Tulsa). In 1908 he was appointed by the newly elected Democratic Gov. Charles N. Haskell's handpicked board of regents to replace David Ross Boyd as president of the University of Oklahoma.

Evans's major accomplishment was the reorganization of the university into colleges and schools. During his tenure the law school opened under the leadership of Julien C. Monnet, and the college of engineering was further organized under James H. Felgar. Evans vigorously promoted the expansion of the medical school, merging the university's school of medicine with Epworth College of Medicine in Oklahoma City.

Evans received an honorary LL.D degree from OU in 1909. Construction of Evans Hall, the administration building named in his honor, was begun during his term. Its Gothic architectural style was the model for other campus buildings. Like his predecessor, Evans was replaced as a result of political change. In 1911 the newly elected governor, Lee Cruce, reorganized and consolidated the boards of regents under the State Board of Education. This new board replaced Evans with Julien C. Monnet as acting president. Leaving the university, Evans became pastor of El Montecito Presbyterian Church at Santa Barbara, California, where he remained until his death on November 30, 1928.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frank A. Balyeat, "Arthur Grant Evans," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 38 (Autumn 1960). George Lynn Cross, Professors, Presidents, and Politicians: Civil Rights and the University of Oklahoma, 1890-1968 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981). Roy Gittinger, The University of Oklahoma, 1892-1942 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1942). Charles F. Long and Carolyn G. Hart, The Sooner Story: Ninety Years at the University of Oklahoma, 1890-1980 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Foundation, 1980).

Kitty Pittman

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