Evans, a pioneer in the cable television industry, not only built the first Cable Television system in the Washington, DC area (Arlington, VA), but also brought the nation’s day-to-day Congressional legislative work into American homes through the launch of C-SPAN, in March 1979. He is an internationally recognized expert in the telecommunications industry and has been a leader in technological innovation since his days at Grosse Pointe University School (GPUS), a predecessor school of University Liggett School.
“What ever success I have enjoyed, is in large part is due to the strong education, grounding, direction and social interactions I received at GPUS,” Evans said.
Evans has served on C-SPAN’s Board since its inception in 1978, served as Executive Committee Chairman in the early 1990s and continues to serve on the board to this day. He, along with C-SPAN co-founder Brian Lamb, is the longest-serving C-SPAN board member.
He is chairman and CEO of Evans Telecommunications Company, an investment, consulting and operating company in the cable television and telecommunications industries.
As founder of the John D. Evans Foundation, Evans is committed to supporting HIV/AIDS vaccine research, LGBTQ Initiatives, environmental protection, technological innovation, education and the arts.
John also serves as Co-chair of Dr. Robert Gallo’s Advisory Board at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore. Dr. Gallo is the co-discover of the HIV virus which causes AIDS and currently has a HIV Vaccine in Human trial.
John and his partner Steve Wozencraft have been tireless LGBTQ civil rights advocates and have been actively involved with a wide range of projects including the US State Departments 15 Country Global Equality Fund initiative as well as the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center initiatives. John and Steve were also the first openly gay couple to have their names engraved on a Federal building (the State Department) and designated by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Patrons of Diplomacy.
Evans, who also served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam war, graduated from the University of Michigan and for the past 19 years has served on the U of M’s President’s Advisory Group. He lives with his partner Steve Wozencraft and has two children, John Jr. and Courtenay.
“We are delighted to present John with our school’s highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Katie Durno, director of alumni relations. “We look forward to welcoming him back to school to honor and celebrate him this spring.”
Previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include
- Washington Post foreign correspondent Keith Richburg ‘76
- Retired Rear Adm. Stanley W. Bryant ’64 GPUS
- Businessman Richard Baron '60 GPUS
- Businesswoman Denise Ilitch '73
- Businessman Bill Shelden ’68 GPUS
- Federal magistrate judge Nita Stormes '72
- Broadcast news journalist Miles O'Brien '77
- Carhartt heir and board chairperson Gretchen Valade '45 CDS
- Founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson '36 DUS
- Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides '78