President’s Statement on Interim Provost

From President Pamela Fox:

I am extremely pleased to convey that Dr. Oliver H. Evans has accepted the position of Interim Provost for the 2016-17 academic year.  Dr. Evans joins Mary Baldwin at a significant time of our evolution and brings to us a breadth and depth of experience in leading institutions through innovation and change.  The course of his career affords Dr. Evans experience with all the components of our small university, with accreditation, in facilitating transitions in organizational structure including implementing new academic structures through provosts and deans, and much more.

Dr. Evans earned his BA in English from Albion College and the MA and PhD in English from Purdue University.  He taught English and communication at Dakota State College, South Dakota State University, Creighton University, and Western Michigan before beginning his progressive series of administrative appointments.  In 1984 Dr. Evans joined Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, Michigan as the Director of Advising and Graduate Studies (for commuter and nontraditional students); and in 1987 he became Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of English, followed by two years as President of Nazareth College.   During his time at Nazareth he secured funding and grants for program expansion, guided accreditation processes at the institutional and program level, and oversaw athletics, student development and residence life, career development, and retention services. A combination of circumstances also led to the Board requesting that Dr. Evans oversee the orderly closing of Nazareth—a complex and difficult process which he led with skill, empathy, and patience.

In 1994 Evans began a highly successful 16-year tenure at the Kendall College of Art and Design.  Under his leadership as Vice President for Academic Affairs and then President, the institution grew from 520 to 1,421 students with expanded funding, facilities, and reputation.  In 1996 Dr. Evans assisted Kendall in entering into a merger with Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan.  When he retired in 2012, he was named President Emeritus of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris University.  After he joined The Registry for College and University Presidents, Kendall called Dr. Evans back as the Interim President for 14 months to lead the institution through a period of identifying a new ongoing president.

Dr. Evans also served through The Registry as Interim Provost and Academic Affairs for Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa from January through December of 2013.  In this role, he was the chief academic officer overseeing students on the Fayette campus and 6,300 students at nineteen U.S. locations as well as sites in Malaysia and Hong Kong.  At Upper Iowa Dr. Evans implemented a new provost structure and mentored new deans.

I have been privileged to engage in several extensive conversations with Dr. Evans since his interview on campus.  I have great confidence in his abilities to provide expert leadership over the next year.  His collaborative style, keen listening abilities, gift of synthesizing, and kind demeanor and spirit are an excellent match for our Mary Baldwin community.

Dr. Evans is eager to begin work with us.  He stated:  “The position at Mary Baldwin interests me because the college has made strategic decisions to address its challenges.  On a personal and professional level, I believe that in partnership with President Fox, the Board, the faculty and staff, and the Executive Staff I will be able to contribute to, and am very interested in being part of, Mary Baldwin’s bright future at this key point in her distinguished 175-year history.”