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William E. Evans Papers - MS 992

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Dr. William E. Evans collection is comprised of approximately 2 linear feet and consists of documents provided by Dr. Evans, mostly regarding his long and impressive career. Among these papers, are generally speeches and statements made by Dr. Evans throughout the 1980s for many influential and important hearings and meetings with several House and Senate Committees. These speeches, which still remain in their original booklets, consist of dozens of speeches from throughout the country that date from predominately 1987- 1989. The Evans collection also includes awards, certificates and flags regarding the successful career of Dr. Bill Evans. As a BGSU alumni and honorary doctorate, Dr. Evans’ collection displays his influential career as a world- renowned marine mammal acoustician and ecologist.

The collection was donated by Dr. Evans himself on January 2, 2004 as a gift to the Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University. The uses of the collection to further scholarly research into the marine biology field as well as provide a career biography on the accomplishments of a Bowling Green State University alumnus. The collection was arranged and finding aid completed by Brandi Sharlow, a student in Hist. 6560 (Archives Administration) at Bowling Green State University, on March 16, 2011.

 Biographical Sketch

Dr. William E. Evans was a world- renowned marine mammalogist who had a special interest in marine mammal management and conservation biology. Bill graduated from BGSU with a Bachelors of Science in 1953 and went on to receive his M.S. from Ohio State University the following year. Bill then served in the U.S. Army from 1954- 1956, which by 1956, he had begun work in the aerospace industry related to the impact of noise on humans and animals.

Evans was one of the first few scientists who made up the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program based in southern California in the 1960s. He spent 10 years with the program, in which he primarily focused on marine mammal communication, echolocation, and population ecology. The result of his efforts culminated in the design of a special research platform for recording and observing dolphins underwater called “Sea See”, as well as the radio telemetric study of several different species.

While working full time on his Ph.D. at the University of California, Bill worked as an Advanced Study Fellow and Visiting Scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service from 1972- 1974. From 1974-1976, Evans worked as the Head of the Bioanalysis Group at the Naval Undersea Center and received his Ph.D. in 1975. After retiring from the Navy in 1976, Bill took on administrative duties as the Executive Director of the Hubbs- Sea World Research Institute in San Diego, where he created a world class research facility and staff which remain prominent in the studies of marine species.

Among the many accomplishments in his career following his work at Hubbs; Dr. Evans was appointed Chairman of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission in 1984 with oversight responsibilities of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Associate Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries in 1986, appointed in 1987 by President Reagan as the Under Secretary for the NOAA and the U.S. Commissioner for the International Whaling Commission. On top of all his impressive titles, Dr. Bill participated in negotiating several environmental and fisheries agreements with Norway, Iceland, Japan, Poland, Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and the former Soviet Union. He was even part of the team to be the first U.S. presence in Murmansk, U.S.S.R. since WWII to head a delegation on fisheries discussion.

In 1989, Evans left Washington D.C. to become the Dean of the Texas Maritime College in Galveston to implement a new course entitled Environmental and Resource Management, Policy and Politics. In 1999, he retired and moved to South Bend, Indiana and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame and as Managing Editor of The American Midland Naturalist.

Dr. Evans is also the author of several books, the most recent being an autobiography, “50 Years of Flukes and Flippers” (2008). BGSU named Evans an Outstanding Alumnus in 1985 and awarded him with an honorary doctorate for public service in 1988.

Sadly, on October 12, 2010, Dr. Bill Evans passed away at a hospital in Bryan, near his winter home in College Station, Texas. Fortunately his legacy lives on at BGSU with a memorial marine lab dedicated to the fascinating marine mammologist. Donations in his memory were made to the Marine Lab at BGSU, which he visited on occasion to work with young students in the marine biology field.

 Scope and Content

The Dr. William E. Evans collection contains over a dozen speeches given all over the country for fundraising events, House and Senate Committee hearings, budget reviews, and scholarly lectures. Among those in the collection can be found a speech given in May 1989 at the BGSU Commencement after having only received his own honorary doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University the previous year. There is also a speech from his presentation as key note speaker at a Texan A &M Commencement Address in 1989.

The correspondence in the Bill Evans collection includes predominately appointments and promotions and professional correspondence during his Federal Service from 1984-1989. There is also a letter from Bill to the exiting President Ronald Reagan in November of 1988 regarding his service to Reagan throughout his presidency.

The artifacts of this collection include awards and plaques to honor Dr. Evans as well as 2 flags with unknown purpose or organizational ties. There is also an undated photograph portrait of Dr. William E. Evans.

 Series Description


March 1984-Feb. 1989
Arranged chronologically then alphabetically
Folders include nomination announcements as well as appointment and promotional professional correspondence


Arranged chronologically then alphabetically
Various speeches and statements given at numerous professional hearings and meetings


Jan. 18, 1984, Today’s Science, Newspaper article
Front page story on Biologist Bill Evans


Portrait of Dr. Bill Evans


1986-1989, n.d.
Includes two flags, framed badges in recognition of Bill Evans’ service with NOAA as a U.S. Administrator from 1986-1989, framed Agreement and Notice for the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme between the U.S., Canada, France, and the U.S.S.R. and framed photograph from the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme agreement.


Box 1

  1. Nominations- Chairman of Marine Mammal Commission, March 1984
  2. Nominations- Correspondence, May 24, 1977, March 1984-Feb. 1989
  3. Speeches/ Statements as Chairman of Marine Mammal Commission, 1984-87
  4. Speech - Ocean’s 1988 Progress- "A Partnership of Marine Interest", Baltimore, MD, Oct. 31, 1988
  5. Speech - Business Liaison Group Meeting, Nov. 10, 1988
  6. Speech - Satellite Ground Receiving Station Presentation, Nov. 15, 1988
  7. Speech - Antarctica Conference, Ditchley Park, England, Dec. 2-4, 1988
  8. Speech - Joint Oceans Studies and Marine Board Meeting - Reception and Dinner; National Academy of Sciences, Dec. 13-14, 1988

Box 2

  1. Speech - Whale Ceremony (Jan. 5, 1989)
  2. Speech - Council Orientation Meeting - "Fishery Management Council New Members", Feb. 8, 1989
  3. Speech - Women’s Aquatic Network Meeting - "Ocean Agenda for 1990s", Mar. 6, 1989
  4. Speech - House and Senate- Budget Request for FY 1990, House - Mar. 17, 1989, Senate - April 20, 1989
  5. Speech - House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, April 4, 1989

Box 3

  1. Speech - Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation - Exxon Oil Spill, April 6, 1989
  2. Speech - Subcommittee Oceanography and Great Lakes- Global Change, May, 4, 1989
  3. Speech - Bowling Green State University, May 6, 1989
  4. Speech - Committee on Merchant, Marine and Fisheries (U.S. House) "Dolphins", May 9, 1989
  5. Speech - Commencement Address- Texas A&M class of 1989, May 13, 1989
  6. Speech - Marine Fisheries Management, May 17, 1989
  7. Speech - National Save the Turtles Celebration, Nov. 1, 1989
  8. Newspaper front page article on Bill Evans, Jan. 18, 1984
  9. Photographs - Bill Evans, n.d.

Box 4 (Oversize)

  1. Flag
  2. Flag
  3. NOAA U.S. Administrator Badges dedicated to Bill Evans work 1986-1989
  4. International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme Agreement
  5. International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme Photograph of Agreement Delegate

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