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Endowed Directorship Honors Judith London Evans 69C

Judith London Evans with her husband Eli and son Josh
Judith London Evans with her husband Eli and son Josh
In Memoriam: Judith London Evans, 1947–2010

To honor and celebrate the life and work of Judith London Evans, the Evans family has created the Judith London Evans Directorship of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. The directorship is now fully endowed by private donations and a matching gift from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. "As an endowed directorship, this will forever be a part of Emory's history," says Eli Evans, Judith's husband and president emeritus of the Charles H. Revson Foundation of New York. "Emory has embraced this gift."

Judith Evans graduated from Emory College as a psychology major in 1969. As the country entered the 1970s, women's rights were at the forefront of public consciousness. Judith's son, film producer and actor Josh Evans, reflected on his mother in her Emory graduation picture. "I see a woman who is ready to start her life, or even more than that, who has already started," he said of his self-confident mother. She was "a woman ready to go into the man's world of the 1970s and take charge."

Growing up "optimistically Jewish," Evans lived in a loving family that valued deep compassion for those less fortunate. Her own informed leadership and mentoring abilities became an inspiration for many young professional women across the country aspiring to live up to their role model. Eli Evans recalls one woman writing, "We admired her so much because she was a small-town girl who had made it in the big city. She told us what to do, how to dress, how to pack for trips, how to talk to the guys, where to sit in meetings . . . how to do it all. And she reminded us never to forget our manicures and pedicures."

Judith London Evans as a young professional at TIAA-CREF in New York City
Judith London Evans as a young professional at TIAA-CREF in New York City

That trailblazing spirit was companion to her compassionate soul. "Judith wanted more than anything to help people and make their lives better," says Eli. Judith joined TIAA-CREF, the financial services organization that would become her corporate home for 36 years. Working within the realm of higher education, "She appreciated giving professors a way to have a retirement. TIAA-CREF executives began to appreciate her presence and precise command of detail. They chose her to be the first woman to take independent trips to major universities to represent the corporation," Eli says. "Even in front of hundreds of people asking questions, Judith maintained her composure and her mastery of the program."

Judith valiantly fought the cancer that ultimately took her life. "She just wanted to be remembered at Emory," Eli shares.

Her loyalty to Emory was clear. Deeply invested in her studies as well as campus life, Judith continued her affiliation following graduation through volunteerism and service with regard to various efforts. In 2006 she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award. Judith was an alumni adviser integral to the founding of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. With this honor, she is also the first woman to be honored by the institute.

Just eight days after son Josh was born, Judith glowed with motherhood. "She valued being a great mother as much as any professional accomplishment she achieved. Her family meant everything to her."
Just eight days after son Josh was born, Judith glowed with motherhood. "She valued being a great mother as much as any professional accomplishment she achieved. Her family meant everything to her."

During a special ceremony and reception at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in November, the Evans family and friends shared stories about the woman who changed all their lives for the better. "Her interest in Jewish studies at Emory makes the Tam Institute director's endowment a fitting memorial," said Emory College Dean Robin Forman at the dedication ceremony. "The first recipient of the Judith London Evans Directorship will be Oded Borowski, a distinguished Emory faculty member since 1977 and the current director of the Tam Institute."

The directorship will rotate to a different recipient every two years. Responding to the honor, Borowski explains, "With creativity and foresight, the Evans family has designed the endowment to strengthen the Tam Institute in unlimited ways."

Eli explained his intent behind creating the endowment in his wife's name. "The nature of this fund respects the belief that new ideas and innovation flow from unrestricted funds that encourage talented people to begin a journey of scholarship and experimentation before an idea is fully formed." He continued, "At Emory, in this institute, perhaps we can give outstanding scholars and students the freedom intended in this fund—that here at Emory, there is support for you to explore new pathways to fresh ideas."

Eli shares his gratitude for his fellow donors. "We were able to raise this money in probably the worst economic period this country has faced in a long time, and that wouldn't have been possible without people feeling emotion for Judith, and support for the idea, and trusting Emory as a place to nurture a legacy that will endure."

Thanks to Michelle Valigursky for this story, which first appeared in The Post, the official blog of the Emory Alumni Association.



About this Publication

New TIJS Graduate Fellows

Graduate Fellowships in Jewish StudiesIn fall 2011 four Emory graduate students were awarded TIJS Fellowships, which are offered annually by the Laney Graduate School to excellent applicants and to current students with a research interest in Jewish studies.
Faculty Profile:
Ellie Schainker

In fall 2011 TIJS welcomed Ellie Schainker as the new Blank Family Foundation Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies.
Neal Gabler Speaks at 2012 Tenenbaum Family Lecture in Judaic Studies

Is there such a thing as a "Jewish" filmmaker in the way that we think of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Bernard Malamud as Jewish writers?
Alumni Profile:
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: A Global Leader

For Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi 86C—founder and president of Laszlo Strategies and founder of the Israel Project (TIP)—standing shoulder to shoulder in thoughtful conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres, President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayyad, and former presidents George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton is all normal work.
TIJS Faculty Advance Scholarship with Evans Directorship Funding

Income from the new Evans Directorship endowment is already benefiting the TIJS academic program by cosponsoring public events and by providing supplementary funding to TIJS faculty in their research projects.
Student News:
Congratulations to TIJS Graduates

TIJS students earn degrees, go to higher endeavors.

Thanks to Our Donors

Thanks to our donorsWe are grateful to the friends of TIJS for their generous donations that make so many of our programs possible.



Fall 2012
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