M. Stanton Evans, a distinguished author, educator and journalist, died Tuesday from pancreatic cancer, according to a friend. He was 80.
Evans began teaching at Troy University in 1980 as a visiting professor, according to Troy University’s website. He later became an adjunct professor in the university’s journalism department, where he taught editorial writing and specialized in print journalism.
A leading figure in America’s conservative movement, he spent several years as chairman of the American Conservative Union, “the oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization in the nation,” according to the group’s website.
Evans wrote the manifesto to the movement, The Sharon Statement, when he was 26, before becoming editor of the Indianapolis News. The statement shared the principles upon which he and a group of conservatives founded the Young Americans for Freedom group, according to heritage.org.
Throughout his life, Evans authored many books, including “Blacklisted by History,” published in 2007, in which Evans wrote what he believed to be the truth about Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
He also appeared as a commentator on several television and radio programs.
Evans was loved and respected by his Troy University colleagues.
Kate Rowinsky, the secretary of the Hall School of Journalism and Communication, and a friend of Evans, said that he was always charming.
“His eyes always twinkled,” Rowinsky said. “He could be very headstrong, too. He didn’t like computers, so I would do things with them so he didn’t have to. It wasn’t that he couldn’t use them, it was just that he didn’t want to.”
Wanda Norris, a senior broadcast journalism major from Phenix City, also said that she feels grateful for the impact that he has had on her life.
“He was never a stranger,” Norris said. “I walked in (to the communication building) as a stranger, but he didn’t talk to me as one. He was sweet, and he was such a gentleman.
“He was fun, and he was also serious. You never had a doubt that you were dealing with a great mind. He always seemed to assess and decide whether he should participate in a conversation or whether he should listen or lead. And he was always right.”
Jeff Spurlock, the director of the Hall School of Journalism and Communication, said that he remembered Evans’ intelligence the most.
“Stan’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known,” Spurlock said. “He had a wealth of knowledge about anything and everything, no matter if it was the Civil War, World War II, Plato, Socrates, the Beatles or Bob Dylan. He had such knowledge about everything.
“He was the type of man you could sit down and have a drink with and talk about anything.”