Howard Evans ’44, Ph.D. ’50, emeritus professor of anatomy, passes away
Howard Evans ’44, Ph.D. ’50, emeritus professor of anatomy, and iconic faculty member of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, has passed away at age 100.
“Almost every graduate of our college either knows him, or his legacy of over 70 years of inspiring countless students with the love of anatomy and natural history,” says Lorin Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
Evans came to Cornell for his undergraduate degree, which was interrupted by World War II. He would return to earn his Ph.D. and become a faculty member, joining CVM in 1950 where he taught numerous courses on animal anatomy.
His research had the same bent, examining canine, fish, reptile and avian anatomy; plant-induced cyclopia in sheep and fetal development of the dog. His published works include the Guide to the Dissection of the Dog with Dr. de Lahunta; Anatomy of the Ferret; Anatomy of the Budgerigar and Other Birds; Miller and Evans’ Anatomy of the Dog; and Handbook of Avian Anatomy.
His leadership roles were many; Evans served as President of both the American and The World Association of Veterinary Anatomists, was an associate editor of the American Journal of Anatomy and the Journal of Morphology, an honorary member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and an Honorary member of the Japanese Association of Veterinary Anatomists. At Cornell, he served as secretary of the college for 12 years and as department chair of Anatomy from 1976 to 1986, and as a member of the Cornell Board of Trustees.
Evans was an avid world traveler, serving as a visiting professor in South Africa, Zimbabwe, China, Taiwan, Japan, Grenada and Australia and taking sabbatical leaves in the Veterinary School at Davis, California; the Marine Station of the University of Georgia on Sapelo Island; and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School cyclopic sheep project in Utah. In retirement, he led numerous alumni on 30 Cornell Adult University excursions around the world along with his wife Erica.
Evans continued sharing his love of the natural world well into his retirement, teaching a natural history course to CVM students, as well as giving talk to children in the Ithaca area public schools with many of his famous and fascinating natural specimens in tow. As many know, some of this incredible collection is still housed on the second floor of Schurman Hall. Many of these skeletons and specimens come with their own story — some of which are shared in this episode of The Consult, this video recorded conversation and this magazine story about his life and career.
According to Evans' son, Edward Evans ’74, M.B.A. ’75, and daughter Gail Evans Ruhl '77, of all their father’s many accomplishments, he cherished his role as a lifelong learner and teacher the most; nothing brought Evans greater joy than when former students would stop by to reminisce and share life updates with him.
“His passing marks the end of an era, and a moment to note his incredible impact on so many people and the profession during his 100 years of life,” says Warnick. “I am grateful for the time we served on the faculty together here at Cornell, for our many interesting conversations and for the historical items he shared with me. I left every interaction having learned something new and with increased optimism. On behalf of the college, I share my deepest condolences to Dr. Evans’ family, colleagues and many friends.”
Written by Lauren Roberts
Photos: Cornell University