University of Pittsburgh
May 17, 2004

Bob Evans to Serve as Honorary Chair of Pitt's Welsh Nationality Room Committee

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Bob Evans, founder of Bob Evans Farms, has been named honorary chair of the Welsh Nationality Classroom committee, as announced by Jack Owen and Dale Richards, cochairs of the Welsh Nationality Classroom committee of the St. David's Society of Pittsburgh. The Welsh classroom is one of seven new rooms in the planning phase to be added to the University of Pittsburgh's 26 ethnic classrooms.

Evans started the sausage and restaurant business by producing his sausage for the small truck stop he owned in Southeastern Ohio. In 1962, he opened The Sausage Shop in Rio Grande, Ohio, the original Bob Evans Restaurant. Evans retired as president of Bob Evans Farms in 1986. He and his wife, Jewell, live in Southeastern Ohio, where they raised their six children.

Proud of his Welsh heritage, Evans has been a supporter of Welsh causes, including the Madog Center for Welsh Studies at Rio Grande University in Ohio. He has been active in numerous charitable endeavors and is the only person in Ohio to be honored three times by the National Wildlife Federation, for which he has spent more than 40 years helping to preserve wildlife.

Martin E. Powell, an architect with The Design Alliance Architects, is designing the Welsh room, which will be an accurate representation of a pre-1787 Welsh longhouse, a barn converted into a chapel with living quarters for the pastor.

"It will be a beautiful and austere setting where the history, language, literature, music, and artifacts of the Welsh people are on permanent display," said E. Maxine Bruhns, director of Pitt's Nationality Rooms Program.

With Evans serving as honorary chair and the Wales Advisory Board, Owen reports that more than $150,000 has been pledged by St. David's Society board of directors, members, and close supporters. "Plans are in progress to raise a total of $450,000, which may include moneys to provide scholarships to study in Wales," said Owen.

The St. David's Society of Pittsburgh is a Welsh fellowship with members in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The society has begun a major effort to make a lasting tribute to the Welsh history and cultural heritage of the Pittsburgh region. Progress on the Welsh classroom, as well as other society activities, can be viewed at the society's Web site,