Sister Evangeline Thomas honored for lifetime achievement

Sister Evangeline Thomas

SALINA — Two women with ties to the community will be honored with Salina Women of Achievement’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Terry Hoyt Evans and the late Sister Evangeline Thomas will be honored at the recognition banquet, Thursday, April 11, 6:00 pm, at Salina Country Club.

Sister Evangaline Thomas, born Mary, moved from Carbondale, Penn., to Concordia to attend high school at Nazareth Academy, where she began to feel drawn to both the sisterhood and college. She received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the name of Sister Mary Evangeline on March 20, 1922.

She began her career in the parochial schools in Beloit; Plainville; Clinton, Mo.; and Silver City, N.M. and spent her summers and one full year at Marymount College earning a degree in English. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Sister Evangeline continued her education at Catholic University of America where she completed her master’s and doctorate degrees in history.

In 1936, she joined the faculty of Marymount College, eventually becoming head of the history department, a position she held for 32 years. She also served as dean of students for seven years during the war, overseeing the students’ social activities, arranging and disarranging engagements between girls and servicemen, dried tears, and counseled the young men who came calling on her students.

She helped found the Salina Youth Symphony and began the Marymount College Artists Series. She created a few waves in the Salina hotel and health care business, exposing the then hidden racism that refused to care for people of color. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Historical Society and then became the organization’s first woman president, was a member of the Executive Board and vice president of the American Catholic Historical Society, served as president of the Kansas History Teachers Association, and became a recognized author.

In 1968 she became the Director of College Relations and Special Projects, a post to which she devoted tireless energy for eight years. When Marymount became co-educational, Sister Evangeline set about developing an athletic department.

In 1976, at the age of 73, Evangeline completed her full-time duties at Marymount and began updating her book “Footprints on the Frontier,” traveled to Brazil, served on the Federation Committee of Historians and directed a major national project for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

In 1983 she published “Women Religious History Sources: A Guide To Repositories In The United States,” winning recognition and acclaim from religious and secular universities across the country.

Sister Evangeline continued working and advocating until her death in December 1990.

Terry Evans

Throughout her 41-year career as a photographer, Terry Evans has been widely acclaimed for her images of the Midwest. The Chicago artist captures, with stunning nuance, the strong relationship between people living on the prairies and the landscapes they inhabit.

The daughter of the owners of a successful portrait photography studio in Kansas City, Terry earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing, painting, and design from University of Kansas in 1968. The first “real” photograph she took was of Bobby Kennedy during his visit to the KU campus.

She began taking photographs of the prairie around Salina in 1978 and has continued to capture the beauty of the prairies and plains of North America as well as the urban prairie of Chicago, using both aerial and ground photography.

Terry has exhibited widely including one-person shows at the Chicago Art Institute, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and The Field Museum of Natural History. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of an Anonymous Was a Woman award. Her work is in major museum collections including the Chicago Art Institute, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, and many other collections.

Beyond her work documenting the Midwest, Evans did a photo series on the glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica. However, she is best known for her relationship to Chicago. In a previous photo series, she captured the lakefront, neighborhoods, and steel mills of her adopted town. In the end, though, her photographs of people do not vary from her photographs of American landscapes; instead, there is a fluidity between all of her images, as each photograph tells a rich, thoughtful, and compelling story of the land and its residents.

Terry and her husband, Sam, lived in Salina for 26 years with their children, David and Corey.

Tickets to the banquet may be purchased at the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland Salina Office at 3115 Enterprise Drive Suite C, or by calling 785-827-3679.

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