Burning bright

By SCM

Hall Evans ’51. Photo by Nick Boswell Photography

Hall Evans ’51 cheered the Broncos to an Orange Bowl victory in 1950, and he celebrated the University’s centennial the next year. Those times brought many unforgettable moments, and ample opportunity to perfect the construction of bonfires—a traditional responsibility for SCU’s engineering students.

“We’d start with railroad ties,” Evans recalls. “Then we’d build these big structures with pulleys, fill that up with combustible material, and light the whole thing.”

Of course, a lot has changed since then—fire safety regulations, for starters. Yet one constant was the impact of a Santa Clara education on Evans’s life as he worked with a variety of firms before founding his own company—Evans Engineering and Air Balance.

When it came time to send his three children to college, “they could go anywhere they wanted,” he says. “As long as it was Santa Clara University.”

In total, the experiences of three generations of his family with the Jesuit philosophy of education (Evans’s father attended University of San Francisco) “reinforced how great it is. Because of that, my support just makes sense. And engineers are, of all things, logical.”

Evans and his wife, Olivia, a retired grade school teacher, have made multiple gifts of real estate to the University that funded charitable trusts. Their investment in SCU provides them a fixed return, while funding the Hall and Olivia Evans Scholarship Fund for high-achieving, low-income engineering students.

Like his earlier campus exploits, it’s a bright idea. But unlike the pyrotechnics, this one will light the Mission Campus for quite a while.

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