Continuing a Family Legacy of Generosity
Jesse and Carol Ann Van Evera both came from philanthropic families. "Both our families set a wonderful example of generosity of service to their universities," she said. "We wanted to carry that on."
Of all her memories growing up on the campus of Shepherd College, Carol Ann Van Evera Durand '64 reflects on the school's whirlwind of events with the most fondness.
"All of the events were just magical to me as a child,"said Carol Ann, who recalled riding the Homecoming float with lifelong friend Jane Ikenberry-Dorrier '65, daughter of Shepherd's 11th president, Dr. Oliver S. Ikenberry, when the two were young girls.
Carol Ann enjoyed a unique perspective of Shepherd University as the daughter of two prominent members of its community. Her father, Professor William R. (Pappy) Thacher, was a longtime member of the faculty and the first president of the Shepherd University Foundation. Her mother, Ruth P. Thacher, served as the Foundation's vice president and later as an honorary board member. It was her parents' commitment to education that inspired Carol Ann to become an educator herself, ultimately earning her doctorate.
As a student at Shepherd, she continued to draw professional inspiration from her professors, whom she credits with doing a phenomenal job of preparing educators. Retired since 2004, the former reading specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia continues to tutor and do volunteer work, citing reading as most critical to academic success.
Carol Ann is also a member of the Joseph P. McMurran Society, an organization of more than 100 members who have let Shepherd know they wish to provide for the future of the University with a planned gift. She and her late husband, Jesse Van Evera '64, joined the prominent organization after they each left a bequest in their wills in support of the William R. Thacher Memorial Fund and the Van Evera Scholarship, which they established together in 1993 upon their son's graduation from their alma mater.
"Jesse and I felt so strongly that Shepherd had prepared us for our careers,"said Carol Ann, whose appreciation for the University is as inherent as her history with it. "We wanted to make it possible for deserving students to have the same opportunities we had."