Ev Swinney: The Man Behind RFSA
During his more than 48-year career as a history professor at what is now Texas State University-San Marcos, Dr. Everette Swinney was beloved by his students and admired by his colleagues for his quiet, thoughtful insight into academia and faculty governance.
With more than 18 years of service in the Faculty Senate, which included eight years as chairman, there is little wonder that he would provide the determination and leadership to the Organizing Committee’s efforts to help get the Retired Faculty and Staff Association (RFSA) up and functioning as a viable organization to serve the university’s 750+ retirees and surviving spouses.
Since organizing efforts began in 2006, RFSA membership has grown to more than 180.
Swinney, who was designated a Distinguished Professor Emeritus by the Texas State University System Board of Regents after his retirement in 1997, is quick to credit Vice President for University Advancement Becky Prince for making formation of the retirees’ organization possible. She provided staff support and facilitated access to the university’s data base that made contacting retirees possible.
One of the group’s early accomplishments was to provide input into the amenities that retired faculty and staff receive by actively reviewing the university’s official policy statement concerning retirees.
A native of Ada, Ohio, Swinney received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University in 1954, his master’s from Pennsylvania State University in 1957 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966. He joined the faculty at Southwest Texas State College in 1957.
He and his wife Donna raised their four children in San Marcos, where they continue to reside.
During Swinney’s distinguished career at this university, he brought the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction alive to generations of undergraduates and introduced hundreds of graduate students to the nuances of American historical writing. He directed more than a score of master of arts theses, equipped countless colleagues and students with the computer skills essential for undertaking historical inquiry in the late 20th Century and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, as well as the Faculty Senate Teaching Award.
The Faculty Senate awards were subsequently named in his honor after his retirement.
In addition to teaching, Swinney served as chair of the Department of History from 1967 to 1980 and was appointed to a two-year term as assistant to the president by Dr. Jerome H. Supple in 1991.
One of the major accomplishments of his years of service in the Faculty Senate was to serve as the primary author and long-time editor of the Faculty Handbook.
A respected scholar, Swinney wrote numerous professional journal articles, as well as a book titled Suppressing the Ku Klux Klan: The Enforcement of the Reconstruction Amendments, which grew out of his dissertation.
After so many years on the fast track because of his strong work ethic and commitment to service, Ev Swinney is taking things much easier these days. He stepped back from his leadership role as RFSA vice president in 2009.
But the RFSA’s organizing group – now designated the Advisory Board – is not about to forget the significant role that Everette Swinney played in getting the group organized and getting its website up and running.
Says President Marianne Reese, “Ev has bowed out of his physical role with RFSA, yet we know he supports RFSA and remains a very important part of the Retired Faculty and Staff Association. He’s our inspiration and motivator.”