Tom was born in Los Angeles, CA. He completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Botany at Cal State Pomona, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Botany and Plant Pathology from Michigan State University. He joined the Research and Education Center of the University of Delaware at Georgetown in 1986 as a Research Plant Pathologist with an applied research appointment dealing with vegetable and agronomic crops. In 1989, he relocated to Newark and became an Assistant and later Associate Professor of Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. This appointment involved teaching duties, applied research on diseases of vegetable crops, and research on virus diseases of all Delaware crops.
In collaboration with colleagues in plant pathology and horticulture, Dr. Evans's research has made major contributions to the discovery and etiology of a new soybean virus disease "severe stunt", to the improved control of diseases of processing vegetables in Delaware, and to the etiology, epidemiology, and improved management of downy mildew of lima beans, caused by Phytophthora phaseoli, a major disease of one of Delaware's signature crops. Dr. Evans has delivered numerous papers at national and regional professional conferences and has been a frequent invited speaker at grower group meetings. Results of his research have appeared in many applied publications. His research has also taken on International dimensions via grants and projects in Morocco and Ecuador. Dr. Evans has served on and/or chaired most of the important Committees in his Department and has been very active on College and University-wide Committees.
Dr. Evans is recognized as an OUTSTANDING teacher! He has taught a wide array of courses to both undergraduates and graduate students. These include a very popular "non-major" course "People and Plants; Feast or Famine", "Plant Virology", "Diagnostic Plant Pathology", co-taught for many years with Dr. Robert Carroll, "Introductory Plant Pathology", "Introductory Botany", "Vegetable Science", and "Current Concepts in Plant Health". He has advised or co-advised the M.S. and Ph.D. research of 8 graduate students and has served on the Committees of 15 others and has advised the research of several undergraduate students doing Independent Studies.
He has also been very active in teaching at the International level and has developed and presented University of Delaware Winter Session Study Abroad courses in Ecuador and Morocco. Tom has a zeal for getting plant pathology into middle and high school curricula and with colleagues has presented Teacher Workshops to Delaware biology teachers and received several grants in support of this effort.
Of greatest significance for this award is the service he has provided to APS and especially the Potomac Division. Tom has served as an Associate Editor of Plant Disease, member and Chair of the Teaching Committee, Co-Chair of the Library Support Committee of OIP. He co-developed an APS plant disease image laser disk, and along with Robert Carroll has developed and presented Biology Teacher Workshops at APS National meetings. In our Division, after his first appearance in the Minutes as a Vote Counter, he has served as Vice-President and President (1992-94), and is currently our Division Councilor. He served as Parliamentarian, member of the Resolutions Committee, Nominations and Election Committee, Graduate Student Paper Competition Committee, Steering Committee, and Program and Local Arrangements Committee, including serving as chair for the current meeting. All of this service, along with contributions in teaching and research make Dr. Tom Evans a very deserving recipient of the Potomac Division Distinguished Service Award.
Finally, Dr. Evans's colleagues at UD note that Tom is possessed with a very high energy level and is noted for always being "on the run" and "in a hurry". In order to have a conversation with him that lasts longer than 5 minutes it sometimes seems necessary to strap him to his chair. Tom has a penchant for collecting and KEEPING things that is evident when drawers in his lab and office are opened wide (… if they CAN be opened). If you will allow two zoological metaphors: … an Energizer Bunny and a Pack Rat! Who knows what treasures may be discovered by his successors when the time of his retirement arrives? But let's not wait until then, but right now, please join me in a resounding THANK YOU to Dr. Tom Evans as we bestow the Potomac Division Distinguished Service Award upon him!