Cumberland University Names Evins Front Porch in Honor of the Late Dan W. Evins

Dan W. Evins' Granddaughters

On March 23, Cumberland University honored the legacy and contributions of the late Dan W. Evins, co-founder of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, with the naming and dedication of the newly renovated Memorial Hall plaza. A focal point of campus and home to the “Heart of the Phoenix” fire pit, the newly named Evins Front Porch is meant to be a central gathering place for the current campus community and future campus visitors. 

The Middle Tennessee native graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy before serving as a Marine. He later attended Cumberland University and ultimately served on the Board of Trust. Additionally, Evins is one of only three individuals to hold an honorary Cumberland degree, known as the Doctor of Humane Letters, which celebrates those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society. 

The Evins family is deeply rooted in the local community and have a number of ties to the university. Former US Representative, Joe L. Evins attended the Cumberland School of Law in 1934 and Dan Evins’ daughter Betsy, graduated from Cumberland in 1988. 

Evins’ Daughter, Betsy Evins Jennings, was raised close to Cumberland’s campus and remembers the university as an integral part of her childhood and her young adulthood as a university student. Near the end of his life, she asked her father what the secret to living a good life was. “Two things,” said Jennings as she recalled her father’s profound words. “Keep it simple, and never stop giving.” Many of Evins’ family members attended the dedication to celebrate the man they knew and loved. 

Current Cumberland Trustee Thomas Pate acknowledged the impact that Dan Evins had on him personally saying, “Creating something which enhances the lives of others is one of life’s greatest privileges and pleasures.”

In remembrance of Evins’ generosity, many friends of the university gave towards the completion of this project, including the university’s Chairman of the Board W.P. Bone, who matched the total number of gifts. 

“This lasting enhancement will be a space for students to aspire and will eventually be the same space they sit at graduation as they reflect on their college careers and see all of their hard work and determination come to fruition,” said W.P. Bone.

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