Feature photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.
This story is part of the “Names that built LU” weekly series issued by The Legacy that has been profiling 28 campus buildings named after Lindenwood personnel.
James D. Evans, Ph.D., might currently be the most well-known building dedicatee at Lindenwood. Following Dennis Spellmann’s death in 2006, Evans took on the role of interim president in August of that year. Just six months later in February of 2007, Evans was named the twenty-first president of the university.
The naming of Evans first as acting president didn’t come as a surprise to many. He spent 33 years at the college prior to receiving that honor. At the time of the honor, he was the provost of the university.
Evans was a psychology professor at the university for 21 years. He served as the dean of social sciences and later, the dean of sciences, dean of faculty and provost.
Evans received his bachelor’s degree from Geneva College in Pennsylvania in the field of psychology, and then moved on to Iowa State University to complete his master’s degree.
In 1974, Evans went on to earn his Ph.D., in research psychology, also from Iowa State University.
Evans put a strong emphasis on academic success, technology, and community partnerships. He also vowed to keep the university’s mission in the forefront.
As president, Evans has overseen the construction or acquisition of many campus buildings. The list includes Reynolds and Pfremmer Hall, the Student Athlete Center, and of course, Evans Commons among others.
Evans oversaw the final stages of Lindenwood’s first doctoral program, which came in the field of education. He also was in charge while Lindenwood implemented its first nursing program.
In terms of athletics, Lindenwood competed competitively in the NAIA for years. Evans put in place the necessary requirements to move Lindenwood’s athletics program into the NCAA Division II level. The process began in 2010, and starting with the 2013-2014 academic year, more than 20 NCAA-level athletic programs are full-members of the NCAA.
In under a decade, Evans has made many notable changes that have grown and improved Lindenwood for the better. As degree programs continue to be added, the coming years could see even more doctorate programs added.
With the combination of strong academics, competitive athletics, and a community dedicated to a thriving university, Lindenwood only looks to grow under the watch of President Evans.