Roddy and Bob Evans' school loyalties are split, but their philanthrophy is a uniting force.
by Catherine House
This story first appeared in the fall 2005 issue of Carolina Connections, published by the UNC Office of University Development.
Roddy Evans may be married into an N.C. State family, but she darn well makes sure that for everything State red in her house, there’s something Carolina blue.
In the dining room, the table is set with two red and two blue placemats; her husband Bob’s office is decorated in State paraphernalia, hers in Carolina. They have two television sets in the living room, so that they can watch Carolina and State games at the same time from their respective recliners in, yep, you guessed it, red and blue.
At one point, Roddy even had to have a talk with the landscaper. “He hadn’t planted anything blue!” she exclaimed.
Along with displaying affection for their alma maters, the two have made planned gifts to UNC and State, designating one-third of their estate to each.
Roddy, who graduated from UNC in 1969 with a degree in physical education and in 1970 with a master’s in teaching, is using her portion to support the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
“Ever since the third grade when I learned about the constellations, I’ve always looked to the stars,” she said. “To this day, I still want to go on a space shuttle. I truly believe our future is out there somewhere.”
While the Evanses have left it up to the planetarium on how best to use the Rosalyn E. and Robert C. Evans Jr. Enhancement Fund, they do hope children’s programs will be a priority. Their fund could be used, for example, to provide scholarships for schoolchildren from under-funded districts to travel to the planetarium and experience the wonder of science. “I want to get children interested in space travel and medicine,” Roddy said. “There’s a window of opportunity with kids. You have to get them excited about learning, and the planetarium is a really good place to interest little people.”
Roddy and Bob were delighted to learn that the planetarium will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation, providing even more learning opportunities for the more than 80,000 schoolchildren who visit the planetarium each year. “The planetarium was really beginning to deteriorate,” Roddy said. “So this is really great news. With our gift, we wanted to ensure that future generations of children have the opportunity to experience the planetarium, and, coupled with these renovations, it looks like that reality is secure.”
Although Bob’s planned gift will benefit N.C. State, we’ll still mention it here, so as not to upset the Carolina-State balance in the Evans family.
Bob, who has bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in education from N.C. State University and is retired from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, is dividing his portion between two causes. Forty percent will go toward campus beautification. “The old campus has lots of bricks,” he said. “It could use a little help.”
Photo courtesy of UNC Development.