First African-American President of Colgate Divinity School remembered for legacy of service

[anvplayer video=”5131861″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School is mourning the loss of its first-ever African-American president, Dr. James Evans Jr.

Dr. Evans served as President of the school for 10 years and passed away late last week. News10NBC talked to the school’s current president about Evans, and the legacy he leaves behind.

Evans is most remembered by the school for nearly 30 years of service to the school’s theology students, and the greater Rochester community as well.

“Even as persons were preparing for the possibility of what if, none of us were ever prepared adequately for the deep loss of his death,” said Reverend Angela Sims, current President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

For decades, Dr. Evans served many roles at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, but his role as President of the Seminary between 1990 and 2000 is what he’s remembered for best. Prior to that current President Angela Sims says he was a faculty member.

“Doctor Evans joined the faculty right after his Ph.D. was confirmed from Union Theological Seminary, and the semester or two prior to that he served as a lecturer at the school, and at that time the school was Colgate Rochester Divinity School-Bexley Hall,” said Sims.

She remembers Evans as a scholar, and author of several books including “We Shall All Be Changed,” and “We Have Been Believers.” Evans is also known for his achievements.

“He is the only President Emeritus of this institution, but he was also granted Faculty Emeritus status, but Dr. Evans remained actively engaged not only in the guild. Just last year he was one of the plenary speakers at the Society For The Study of Black Religion,” said Sims.

Evans established the program for the Study of Women and Gender in Church and Society.

“That program really set to not only the greater Rochester area, but the world the ‘CRCDS’ was taking its commitment to women seriously,” said Sims.

As far as his legacy: “I am hopeful that his example of mentoring, of guiding will be replicated by the persons in whom he invested time, energy, and resources,” said Sims.

So far the Evans family has not released the cause of death, but Dr. Evans is survived by his wife, three children, and four grandchildren.