Howard Evans ’44, Ph.D. ’50, emeritus professor of anatomy in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), died June 20 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,” said Dr. Lorin Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, the 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 in 1950, joining CVM where he taught numerous courses on animal anatomy.
His research had the same bent, examining canine, fish, reptile and avian anatomy, as well as plant-induced cyclopia in sheep and fetal development of the dog. He co-wrote books including the “Guide to the Dissection of the Dog,” “Miller and Evans’ Anatomy of the Dog” and “Handbook of Avian Anatomy.” His book chapters include “Anatomy of the Ferret” and “Anatomy of the Budgerigar and Other Birds.”
His leadership roles were many. Evans served as president of both the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists and the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists and was an associate editor of the American Journal of Anatomy and the Journal of Morphology. He was an honorary member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and of the Japanese Association of Veterinary Anatomists. At Cornell, he served as secretary of CVM for 12 years and as chair of the Department of Anatomy 1976-1986. He was also a member of the Cornell Board of Trustees.
Evans was an avid traveler, serving as a visiting professor in South Africa, Zimbabwe, China, Taiwan, Japan, Grenada and Australia. He took sabbatical leaves in the Veterinary School at the University of California, Davis; 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 talks to children in the Ithaca area public schools with many of his natural specimens in tow.
“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,” Warnick said. “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.”