Gift to benefit Ag Sciences and Engineering students, entrepreneurship programs

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A $50,000 gift from Ray and Jan Evans, of Stow, Ohio, will provide financial support for scholarships, entrepreneurship programs and facility upgrades in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Engineering.

The gift will be divided among four existing funds: the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Support Fund in the College of Agricultural Sciences; the Ray and Jan Evans Scholarship in Agricultural and Biological Engineering; the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship Fund; and the Agricultural Engineering Building Fund.

"You often don't realize the value of a Penn State education until years later," Ray Evans said. "All graduates should consider supporting the students, faculty and programs at the University in return for all the lifelong benefits they receive."

Academic programs in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering are offered jointly by the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Engineering, and the Evanses have been strong supporters, providing both time and resources, according to Paul Heinemann, professor and department head.

"These generous gifts are a great investment in the future of our students, staff and faculty," Heinemann said. "I am particularly grateful for Ray's and Jan's philanthropic leadership and early investment in our upcoming building project, which will help ensure Penn State's excellence in agricultural and biological engineering."

A native of Pittsburgh, Ray Evans is a 1960 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Alpha Zeta, an agricultural honorary fraternity. He earned a master's of business administration degree from Kent State University in 1968.

Evans has nearly five decades of experience in the tire industry, working in product management, engineering, marketing and sales for companies such as B.F. Goodrich, Continental/General, Gans and Titan International.

Since retiring as executive vice president of engineering, marketing and sales at Titan, he has continued to serve as an engineering and marketing consultant for the company, a global manufacturer of mounted tire and wheel systems for off-highway equipment used in agriculture, construction, mining, military, recreation and grounds care.

Evans also is chairman of the International Tire Exhibition and Conference Tire Dealers/Auto Service trade show, a biennial event aimed at retail and commercial tire dealers, tire sellers and distributors, automotive service providers and retreaders.

His continuing involvement with Penn State includes serving as past chairman of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering's Industrial and Professional Advisory Council. The College of Engineering named him a 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award.

Evans also is a board member for the College of Agricultural Sciences' Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. Mark Gagnon, the Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar and the college's entrepreneurship coordinator, noted that the couple's philanthropy will provide valuable support for the program.

"Ray and Jan's gift will help us make a difference in our students' lives by preparing them to be entrepreneurial and convert promising opportunities into real value for themselves, the economy and society," Gagnon said.

Penn State's alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of our faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated January 21, 2015