From the outside, 721 University Place looks like any other stone building nestled amid the sorority houses.
But go through the foyer, past the 3D flat-screen television, the elevator and the solar panels, and it becomes evident this house is not quite like the others. After $6.5 million in renovations this summer, the new Evans Scholars building was officially dedicated in a ceremony Sunday.
More than 400 people attended the outdoor event, which featured a performance by the Northwestern University Marching Band, a speech from University President Morton O. Schapiro and remarks from several members of the Western Golf Association, the organization responsible for Evans scholarships.
“It’s a breathtaking house,” Schapiro said. “The undergrads seem so happy with the work we’ve done at Rogers and Lincoln, I almost don’t want them to see the Evans House.”
The house’s improvement joins a larger effort to renovate student housing. Schapiro said approximately $20 million worth of work was completed this summer on other residential buildings, though the Evans Scholars’ money was raised separately.
During renovations last year, a lack of space required freshmen and sophomore women in the Evans Scholars program to live in the North Mid-Quads. Now NU’s 39 Evans Scholars will be able to live together under one roof.
“I felt the separation when I lived in NMQ (last year), but now I’m excited to get to be with everyone else,” Medill sophomore Jessica Dillard said.
The chapter’s president Matt Halvorson said years of early mornings on the golf course and late nights of studying earned him an interview with Evans Scholars. Now a senior, Halvorson said the program gave him an opportunity his family could not.
“There are people who believe I can succeed, that I’m worth the investment of four years of NU tuition,” the SESP senior said. “The privilege of the house reminds us of the responsibility we carry to enhance the honor that surrounds Evans Scholars.”
The program has provided renewable full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving golf caddies since 1930. Founded by former NU student Charles Evans Jr., the foundation currently sponsors 820 students at 19 universities throughout the U.S.
Evans Scholars all have some degree of financial need. They also share the experience of extensive caddy work on the golf course.
“When you’re on the course, you caddy for successful men who are experts in their particular fields,” said McCormick senior Dan Schuster. “You start to learn their mannerisms and leadership qualities. It’s something to aspire to.”
The new residence features letters, trophies and class photos from Evans Scholars of the past, which makes it feel “like a mix of a house and a museum,” Weinberg junior Omar Gutierrez said.
The money for renovation came from Futures on Course, a campaign established by the Western Golf Association in 2009 for the purpose of fundraising for Evans Scholars at NU. Futures on Course collected monetary donations from former Evans Scholars and NU alumni as well as companies, foundations and country clubs.
The new house will be a place for the Evans Scholars to relax and spend time together in a completely renovated environment.
“It’s a great privilege and honor, which bears a lot of responsibility,” said Weinberg sophomore Joseph Evans. “We owe a lot to the people who got us here.”