Talk to colleagues about Jack Evans, and you’ll hear several things again and again: He’s modest, even self-effacing. He is a man of rigid integrity. He knows no other way to approach a task than thoroughly—and he approaches an awful lot of tasks.
What’s remarkable about him is all the things he does at an extremely high level, with such grace, without seeming flustered or overburdened.
Jack has been a member of the faculty of the Kenan-Flagler Business School going on 35 years. He was its dean from 1978 to 1987, during which he presided over challenging decisions to cut enrollment to protect the quality of the educational experience, to start a master’s of accounting program, and to establish an executive MBA program. Twice since then, he has served as interim dean. Jack also served as the University’s interim vice chancellor for finance and administration for 16 months during the transition from the late Michael Hooker ’69 to the administration of James Moeser.
But perhaps the most telling time Jack spent in South Building was in the mid-1970s. Four years after his arrival at the business school, he was asked to lunch by Chancellor Ferebee Taylor ’42. Not long afterward, Taylor named Jack to one of two new special assistant’s positions.
“That three-year experience gave me the opportunity to meet people inside and outside the University and to develop an appreciation for the very special relationship that exists between this university and the people of this state,” Jack said recently. “I might have learned those things over a long period of time, but I wouldn’t have learned them so quickly or so deeply.”
Now the Phillip Hettleman Professor of operations, technology and innovation management, Jack recently ended 15 years of volunteer service to the nation, holding nearly every job connected with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. That is the award the president of the United States gives to outstanding businesses and educational and health care organizations.
And, fellow Tar Heels, Jack is Carolina’s faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and to the Atlantic Coast Conference. He now serves on the NCAA Management Council, where he is helping to shape academic reforms.
He served as faculty representative to the GAA Board of Director in 1999 and 2000. In 2002 he received the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award which recognizes unusual, meritorious or superior contributions by University staff. Most recently he chaired the search committee that selected Dan Reed as vice chancellor for information technology.
What Jack calls “this weird mix of things I’ve done,” we believe is convincing evidence that he is at the vanguard of the movement for interdisciplinary cooperation among American universities.
Jack was described this way upon receiving the Massey Award: He has always been creatively useful and never treated any of these posts as mere time-serving, and because of his skill in leading other talented persons to forswear in-fighting and concentrate upon fruitful and useful accomplishments. He has an unmatched, unselfish capacity to serve and no selfish capacity at all for refusing to bear another burden in service to this institution.”
It may be fair to assert that the theme of Jack’s research over the past couple of decades is also the theme of his career—quality. That is, you achieve important things by setting standards, putting in place practices to help you meet those standards, and then measuring the results to make sure you did.
That’s something Jack has taught scores of business students who have gone on to manage in corporations, and something he instilled in the business school itself as its leader.
The Baldrige Award, of which he has been such a huge supporter, honors organizations which make that ongoing commitment to quality. It is telling to note that in addition to serving that program without pay, Jack also gladly accepted anti-conflict-of-interest rules that precluded him from earning money from the corporations who apply, which is a deal-killer for many business scholars.
Now Jack is advocating for standards of quality for the solid education he believes universities owe their student athletes.
“At this university,” Jack says, “we take ‘student athlete’ to be a meaningful term. I am really proud of the values of this institution in general and of its athletic programs in particular. We have a strong commitment from the top of this University to compete vigorously in college athletics, and to see that athletes here have the maximum chance to get an education.”
And that’s another thing that Jack’s colleagues keep saying about him—that he exemplifies the spirit of Carolina.
They are right. And we are pleased to thank him for his service to our university by presenting him with the GAA’s Faculty Service Award.
The Faculty Service Award is presented by the GAA Board of Directors.