Campus: Sonoma State University -- March 4, 2005

SSU Professor and Husband Make $250,000 Donation For Social Justice Programs At SSU

Social justice is at the heart of a $250,000 endowment made to Sonoma State University recently by a couple who hopes the gift will spur others to donate "to nudge the University in the direction they would like to see it go."

SSU professor Andrea Neves and her husband Bart Evans are longtime supporters of programs in education, including the building of classrooms in Africa.

Regular donors to Stanford University, Claremont McKenna College, and Phillips Exeter Academy, they have turned their sights this year towards SSU. Their initial $250,000 gift is to support the development of programs, events and other activities that will be shared by the School of Social Sciences and the School of Education.

"We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity by Dr. Neves and Mr. Evans," says Elaine Leeder, Dean of the School of Social Sciences. "Our hope is to bring to campus speakers who are committed to the issues of social justice."

Leeder indicated funds like these can be used to draw internationally-known speakers to the campus such as writer Maya Angelou or the recent Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Maathai. She says use of the endowment will also focus around "issues of social responsibility and educating our students to becoming civically engaged."

School of Education Dean Marty Rudell also expressed pleasure that the School of Education is a recipient of this gift. "Dr. Neves taught in the School of Education for over 20 years and in her teaching addressed issues of social justice, equality, and the rights of all people. This gift will further the goals and ideals she has always professed."

Neves received her doctorate in education from Stanford University in 1984 and has been a professor at SSU since 1972, first as a professor in ethnic studies and later in the School of Education.

She has a strong international perspective and interest in social justice and her teaching and research have been in ethnic minority rights, social class, women's rights, and race issues both internationally and within the United States.

"I want to support students whose research interests reflect my own," she says. She also has a special interest in international education and is helping to build five schools in the bush country of the north Mara district of Tanzania near Lake Victoria.

Neves credits her interest in Tanzania to an international program she participated in at the School of Education at Stanford University. She visited Africa on a Fullbright-Hays Research Fellowship in 1997 and 2003 and has received other research and development funds for visits in 2000 and 2005. She and her husband recently returned from a five-week follow-up visit to the schools.

She has also worked as a consultant in Sonoma County schools on a variety of gender equity and bilingual issues and has been a visiting professor, educational researcher and trainer at Stanford.

Evans graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor's in Economics and from Stanford with bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering in 1970 and 1972, respectively.

He served for over thirty years as a civil affairs officer in the United States Army on active duty and in the reserves and had a very successful career of twenty-six years at Dionex Corporation in Sunnyvale. He is now semi-retired in the role of executive consultant to the CEO of the company.

Jean Wasp, Media Relations Coordinator, (707) 664-2057

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