Defying the Odds Alumni Award Winner 2009
Margaret Evans (B.A. ’71 College of Arts and Sciences, M.P.A. ’72, Bloch School of Business and Public Administration) has defied the odds ever since she attended UMKC in the 1970s. At that time, she worked full-time jobs to pay for her education, as well as balancing the bills of her terminally ill father. She says the lessons she learned during that difficult time helped in her career ascension, and it was all thanks to her father.
“My dad told us we had to work hard to get what we want, and work harder than others worked, and I focused on that,” she says. “I told my kids the same thing and taught them to show me they were working hard with their grades.”
Evans was the first African-American woman to receive a Ford Foundation Fellowship in the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, and she was also the first African-American woman to be promoted to a management position within the Government Employees Hospital Association (GEHA), Inc. She has spent the past 30 years at GEHA, where she was key in the creation of the Human Resources department. Years from now, though, she says she would prefer her legacy to be more personal.
“I’d like to be remembered for always reaching back and bringing others up with me, helping the disadvantaged who didn’t have the same opportunities as everyone else,” she says with a smile. “And for being the best mother and grandmother in the world.”