Physical Chemist, Glenn Evans began his career at OSU in 1977. Hair was big, bell bottoms were wide and the Bucky Ball hadn’t been discovered yet. He started out teaching a variety of freshman level and graduate courses, taking up Physical Chemistry courses in the late 90’s. Around 2000, he started to cover more and more of the sequence and by 2005 was teaching all three terms. Hard and fast statistics don’t exist on just how many students Glenn has taught in his 37 years at the front of the classroom, but it’s estimated to be somewhere between five and ten thousand.
When asked what Dr. Evans loved most about teaching, he replied, “the “aha” moment when a student sees something and tells me “that wasn’t so hard” almost in a defiant way; private counselling of students (talking them through their anxieties); office hours during which students interact with each other as well as me; in lectures when I say things provocatively to elicit a response and their laughter; exposing the lessons of life embedded in science; among many others. Perhaps the most interesting and most privileged part of lecture is looking out over a sea of faces (with their varying degrees of enthusiasm) and seeing the future and the person I once was.”
Glenn retired in 2010. Four years later, a student decided that he needed to be recognized. During the 2014 Commencement Luncheon, Biochemistry and Biophysics student Omar Rachdi took the platform and read the following speech.
“Two back surgeries, two flights of stairs slipped down in one fell swoop to reveal degenerative disc diseases and scoliosis, two lives lost that cripple me from within because of the differences between the Moroccan culture and the American culture, and only two years have passed. My undergraduate years have been very full of hard and life-changing experiences. However, I would not be where I am today without the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Glenn Evans.
After my second back surgery, I felt demoralized. I did not have the capacity to believe in myself or my abilities until the end of my fall term Physical Chemistry course junior year. Dr. Glenn Evans knew of my physical difficulties and sat me down after the final exam took place. I will always remember him telling me, “You got talent kid. Real talent. You sure you haven’t thought about doing this as a profession?” Regardless of the score I received on that exam, having a person of Dr. Evans stature tell me something like that made a large impact. That moment is the time when I can say that my “spark” turned on inside of me, and for this past year, all that I have tried to do is pass that spark onto others. Whether it be through being a teaching assistant for Biochemistry or Physical Chemistry, the mentoring programs that I have built within the College of Science, or just in everyday conversation, I will always carry with me the kind acts that Dr. Evans has done for me and try to pass them on to others.
Dr. Evans has had a large impact on not just myself, but several other students. If there was a way to incorporate the impact he has had in his career on the lives of his students, his “H-index” would be that of Linus Pauling, and other great scientists that have graced our earth.”