David C. Evans

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David C. Evans Mormon Scientist

David Cannon Evans was a computer graphics pioneer and a computer scientist who educated some of the industry’s groundbreaking figures.

Born February 24, 1924, he studied electrical engineering at the University of Utah and earned a doctorate in physics. After completing his degree, he worked for the Bendix Corporation, where he was project manager on two of the company’s computers. When he correctly predicted that Bendix would not succeed in the computer industry, he joined the University of California at Berkeley, where he became the head of the university’s work for the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Project Agency. He and his students also made advances in virtual memory. At Berkeley he met Ivan Sutherland.

In 1965, James Fletcher, then president of the University of Utah, invited Evans to come back to the university and create a computer science department.

Evans was chairman of the computer science departments at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of Utah. Some of his students included Butler Lampson (Xerox), Alan Kay (Xerox), Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics), John Warnock (Adobe), Edwin Catmull (Pixar), and Alan Ashton (Word Perfect).

In 1968, Evans convinced Ivan Sutherland to leave Harvard and come to the University of Utah. Sutherland had agreed to come to Utah on the condition that Evans start a company with him. So with Sutherland, Evans founded the Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation in 1968, which made powerful graphics systems that are used for engineering, scientific, and military applications that require a detailed visual rendering on a computer screen.

Evans retired in 1994. In 1996 he was awarded the Computer World-Smithsonian Award for lifetime achievement. Also in 1996, Brigham Young University established the David C. Evans Chair of Computer Engineering and Graphics.

Evans died October 3, 1998 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Evans and his wife, Beverly Joy Frewin Evans, were the parents of ten children, seven of whom lived to adulthood. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a Boy Scout scoutmaster for 27 years and received the Silver Beaver, Scouting’s highest honor for adult leaders. He also served as a branch president and a counselor in bishoprics and stake presidencies. His wife was a counselor to Barbara W. Winder in the general presidency of the Relief Society. His son David F. Evans is in the First Quorum of the Seventy. His son Peter F. Evans was called as an Area Seventy in October 2013.