CEO Mac Evarts and Wife Give Gift to Renovate a Piece of Their Past

Lounge Renamed for Them, 50 Years After It Helped Bring Them Together

March 25, 2004

"Nursing has not only been a vital part of our lives, but this nursing school has a special meaning for both of us."

It was the place where suitors met nursing students, back in the day of chaperones and dorm rooms that didn’t allow male visitors. Now, the School of Nursing lounge where medical student C. McCollister “Mac” Evarts would meet up with nursing student Nancy Lyons has been named the Evarts Lounge, in recognition of a generous pledge of support. That medical student from the 1950s is now the CEO of the Medical Center.

The lounge, the centerpiece of the historic Helen Wood Hall building that houses the School of Nursing, has undergone a renovation and will officially reopen Thursday, March 25. The building, on Crittenden Boulevard., dates back to 1926. The Evarts gift will be used for an endowment to keep the lounge maintained and to support the School of Nursing.

An official dedication will take place in the lounge beginning with a cocktail reception at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25. Many University officials and alumni will be in attendance.

At 5 p.m., there will be an unveiling of a formal portrait of Nancy and Mac Evarts, M.D., Senior Vice President and Vice Provost for health affairs and Medical Center CEO. The portrait was taken by Thomas Jackson, president of the University of Rochester, and is now hanging in the Evarts Lounge, along with a plaque that tells the story of the couple.

The two met when Evarts was in his first year of medical school, in 1953. On Saturday mornings, he used to duck away from his studies to earn some spending money by playing in the old semi-pro football league. But in one game he injured his ankle and was brought to the emergency room back at the University of Rochester. The student nurse who treated him agreed not to report that he’d been playing semi-pro football on the side, and a relationship was born.

They were married two years later. Dr. Evarts went on to head orthopaedics departments at the Cleveland Clinic and at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He then became the CEO of the Hershey Medical Center and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine before his return to Rochester last year. 

Now, as CEO of the institution that not only trained him but also changed the course of his personal life, Dr. Evarts is giving back with this donation from him and his wife.

“Nursing has not only been a vital part of our lives, but this nursing school has a special meaning for both of us,” Dr. Evarts says. “We are privileged to be able to contribute to its future, as well.”

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