SAN BERNARDINO — Anthony Evans, who during his 14 years as president of Cal State San Bernardino oversaw rapid expansion of the campus while deflecting criticism that he was insensitive to the faculty, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective next summer.
Evans, who turns 60 next week, told a faculty meeting that he wanted to move to northern San Diego County so his wife, who suffers from poor health, would benefit from cleaner air. He said he was leaving the campus in good shape and drew attention to his most recent accomplishments--the completion of a new sports arena, fund-raising for a new art museum and the launching of a permanent satellite campus in Palm Desert.
Evans said he had informed Barry Munitz, Cal State University system chancellor, more than a year ago of his pending retirement.
Longtime faculty and staff members said Evans was held in high regard for orchestrating the physical growth of the campus at a time when student enrollment increased from 5,000 to more than 12,000.
He was especially credited for protecting the faculty and major academic programs from cutbacks during the early 1990s, when many other state university campuses sustained severe budget reductions.
But his tenure was not without controversy--including criticism that he did not aggressively pursue minority staff hirings and promotions and that he dismissed faculty input in his decision making. Evans also was viewed as not empathetic to faculty concerns.
"He did a tremendous job building our physical campus, but he had a difficult, rocky relationship with the faculty, especially when it came to including the faculty in his decision-making process," said Michael Clarke, spokesman for the local chapter of the California Faculty Assn. and a 20-year professor on campus.
Only after a faculty survey several years ago showed plummeting morale did Evans respond to the criticisms--by hiring another administrator to work more closely with the faculty, Clarke said.
Others on campus complained that under Evans' tenure, the school lagged far behind in hiring and promoting minority staff members--a contention that Evans dismissed.
"If you look at the data, we have one of the best records in the [state university] system," he said.