Allen University’s Oldest Alumnus Turns 105

Mrs. Dorothy Evans, Temple Hills, MD was 105 years old on January 31, 2011. On January 30, a birthday celebration reception was held for her at her church in Washington, DC. Her church members affectionately refer to her as “Mother Evans”. She graduated from Allen University, Columbia, SC, in 1924 with a degree in elementary education. Mrs. Evans still has an original 86 years old copy of her commencement graduation program.

There are several historical aspects of Mrs. Evan’s life relative to Allen University. That is, there are 3 historic campus buildings listed on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. The Coppin Hall dormitory’s construction began the same year she was born (1906). Also, she and the Allen University High School female students simultaneously lived in the Columbia landmark building. In addition, Mrs. Evans graduated one year after another Columbia landmark building, Chappelle Hall, was completed (1923). Bishop William Chappelle, for whom the hall was named, was born (1852) during slavery in Fairfield County in South Carolina. He later became a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Evans recalls interesting memories as a student relative to Bishop Chappelle. Finally, the oldest building on campus, Arnett Hall (1891), was another historic building (for males). She states that females were to not get near the building.

After graduating from Allen University, Mrs. Evans taught at the elementary level for 2 years in Camden and about 20 or more years in Clinton, SC. She returned to her native Washington, DC after teaching in South Carolina and then worked at the U.S. Bureau of Engravings and Printing. Finally, Mrs. Evans indicated having conversed with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor.