Daniel J. Evans ranks as one of the most distinguished leaders in the history of the State of Washington. Perhaps best known as governor from 1965–1977, he has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public service. He has longstanding ties to the University of Washington (UW) and exemplary experience in the fields of governance, education, and the environment.
Before entering politics, Evans was a civil engineer. After graduating from UW with degrees in civil engineering (BS ’48; MS ’49), he worked as a structural engineer for the City of Seattle, Associated General Contractors, and in private practice. In 1956, he entered politics as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives, where he served from 1956–1965.
He became governor of the State of Washington in 1965, ultimately serving an unprecedented three consecutive terms. He was recognized as “One of the Ten Outstanding Governors in the 20th Century” (University of Michigan study, 1981). After declining to run for office again, he assumed the presidency of Olympia's Evergreen State College in 1977. From 1981–1983, he also served as chairman of the Pacific Northwest Electric Power and Conservation Planning Council. After the death of Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson in 1983, Evans was appointed and then elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1989, he chose not to run for reelection.
Evans is actively involved in a large number of community and nonprofit organizations. He chaired the National Academy of Science's Commission on Policy Options for Global Warming and co-chaired a delegation to monitor elections in Nicaragua with former President Jimmy Carter. From 1989–1994, Evans also served as a political analyst for KIRO radio and TV. He taught as a part-time lecturer at the Evans School from March 1989–1990, and currently heads his own consulting firm, Daniel J. Evans Associates.
He has served on numerous corporate and civic boards, including Costco, Puget Sound Energy, and the Nature Conservancy. In 1993, he was appointed by Governor Mike Lowry to the Board of Regents for the University of Washington, where he has served as vice president (1995–1996), president (1996–1997), and chair of the Capital Assets Committee. His term on the Board of Regents ended in 2005.
Dan Evans and his wife Nancy have three grown sons, Dan Jr., Mark, and Bruce, and nine grandchildren.