Bradford couple inducted into Brackenridge Circle for gifts

Evanses

Between them, Dr. George and Susan Evans of Bradford have attended five different universities, yet they’ve steadfastly supported Pitt-Bradford even though neither of them were ever students there. 

            The couple’s generosity to Pitt-Bradford has been so significant that they were inducted last month into the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious Brackenridge Circle, which honors donors whose planned gifts and pledges total at least $1 million. Since the circle’s inception in 2010, the Evanses are two of only three Pitt-Bradford affiliated donors who have been inducted. The third was Rich Johnson.   

            George Evans, who retired as a journalism professor from St. Bonaventure University after 29 years, earned his doctorate in mass communication and political science from Syracuse University, his master’s degree in mass communication from The Ohio University, and his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rider University.

            Susan Evans, who retired after teaching English at Bradford Area High School for 32 years, earned her master’s degree in education from St. Bonaventure and her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Slippery Rock University.

            The Evanses stress that all of their alma maters are quality schools, but there is something extra special about Pitt-Bradford, something that ignites their passion for philanthropy.

            “This is such a wonderful institution that is wonderfully run,” Susan Evans said. “The university is doing an excellent, excellent job, which makes this campus stand out.”

            George Evans added, “Pitt-Bradford has done more in 50 years than many schools have done in 100 or 150 years. Fifty years ago, the campus was just a flat piece of ground. Look what’s here now. We’re passionate about quality education, and it’s here. This university is a gem among gems.”

            Dr. Livingston Alexander, Pitt-Bradford’s president, said, “Pitt-Bradford is fortunate to have received such unwavering support from George and Susan Evans over the years.  Students for many years to come will continue to benefit from their generosity.”

            The Evanses have supported other causes generously, but they’ve done so quietly, opting to make those contributions anonymously. However, they’ve always been willing to be open about their support to Pitt-Bradford in the hope that it will encourage others to donate. Supporting education is also a natural for two people who have more than 60 combined years as educators.

            “Education is important to us,” George Evans said. “We didn’t have to think long and hard about contributing to Pitt-Bradford. We knew we wanted to do this.”

            In 2002, the Evanses contributed $30,000 to Pitt-Bradford to establish the Michael R. Cavalline Scholarship to memorialize Susan Evans’s father, a gift that was matched by the Reed-Coit Scholarship Challenge and now has grown to a significant endowment.  So far, 35 students have received scholarships, and each scholarship has been about $1,000. Over the years, they’ve also contributed to the Blaisdell Fine Arts Challenge, Buy a Seat for the Arts program and the Harriett B. Wick Chapel.

            For the couple, supporting the university is also their moral obligation.

            “We have been blessed with good fortune,” George Evans said. “We were taught to share our good fortune with others.”

            Students need help, his wife said, adding that without financial assistance, many students would not be able to get a college education. “We just think this is a wonderful place, and we’re passionate about the quality of education here,” Susan Evans said. “The students here are always courteous and respectful. Everyone I’ve dealt with on campus has been so nice. You don’t always see that on a bigger campus.

            “Money is never wasted if it’s spent on education. The benefits will always come back to you or the student.”

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