Kenda Jameson Evans ’92, Distinguished Southwestern Service
- Lance Holt
A former member of the Southwestern staff says she got to know Kenda through multiple alumni gatherings on campus and remembers thinking, “My gosh…this woman knows everyone at Southwestern, and everyone loves and respects her.” Kenda, is truly part of the fabric of Southwestern.
A chemistry major with a biology minor at Southwestern, Kenda went on to earn a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. An experienced life science application and technical sales professional, she is now an automation solutions product specialist for Agilent Technologies.
Kenda has shown her dedication not only to Southwestern but to the sciences through the annual Jameson 5K Run at Southwestern, which takes place during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. November 2013 marked the 13th anniversary of the event, which honors the memory of Kenda’s brother, Jaysn ’90. Kenda established the run in 2001 to help increase the endowment of the Jaysn Jameson Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for Southwestern students majoring in the sciences as both she and Jaysn did.
As many know, organizing a race is no small undertaking. Years ago, when Kenda proposed the idea, the Southwestern Alumni and Parent Relations staff thought it was wonderful but knew how much time and effort it would take. They believe that if it had been anyone but Kenda proposing the idea, they probably wouldn’t have agreed to it. But—as many agree—when Kenda sets her mind on doing something, people know she will do whatever it takes to get it done.
Year in and year out, Kenda and her family and friends spend countless hours (even taking time off work) coordinating the Jameson 5K—far more than people realize—doing everything from soliciting sponsors to managing the accounting; recruiting volunteers to having t-shirts printed. And, on race day, she is on campus at 3 a.m. to begin setting up. Those who have been recruited—or arbitrarily assigned—to work the event, continue to do so year after year out of their admiration and love for Kenda!
In general, races bring people together and promote a healthy lifestyle. One friend and fraternity brother of Jaysn’s says that Kenda represents that sense of community extraordinarily well, and that she inspires him to help, even in years when the timing might not be optimal. He says he is committed because Kenda deserves his attention and he doesn’t want to let her down. Adding that if he had a sibling, he’d want it to be Kenda!
Friends know Kenda as a person of integrity—someone who can be trusted in any circumstance. Some of the numerous words people use to describe her include: profoundly committed, persistent, devoted, thoughtful, passionate, generous, compassionate, brilliant and beautiful—both inside and out.
The love that Kenda demonstrates for her alma mater makes others want to work harder, accomplish more and further the Southwestern mission, which Kenda so generously supports. Although she has an extremely demanding career, Kenda is able to manifest Southwestern’s core purpose as evidenced by her uncompromising reliability, not only to the Jameson 5K, but to the University as a whole. She makes the time to attend events like the Shilling Lecture, Alumni Council meetings, and more. Through it all, she remains positive, enthusiastic and dedicated to doing her absolute best in all areas of her multi-faceted life.
She is also known by many as a true friend who always “shows up” as an advocate, friend, supporter and cheerleader! A fellow alumna and former alumni association board member says of her friendship with Kenda, “I’m old and Kenda’s young, but she treats me as her equal. She loves me and I love her. We are always so glad to see each other and share our lives. She is a very special friend.”
For dedication to her alma mater and to the memory of her brother, for her unending support of the sciences at Southwestern, and for her loyalty to the University and its people, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni proudly presented Kenda Jameson Evans with the 2013 Distinguished Southwestern Service Award.