Long-time San Marcos resident and Texas State faculty member Dr. Everett “Ev” Swinney died on March 1, 2017. Everett was born in Lima, Ohio, on September 9, 1933. After completing an M.A. at Penn State University in 1957, the Swinney family, now with infant daughter Katy, moved to San Marcos where Ev took a position as an instructor of American History at Texas State University, then Southwest Texas State Teachers College. Ev subsequently pursued a doctoral degree at The University of Texas in Austin, graduating in 1966.
The timing of Ev’s arrival at Texas State allowed him to bridge the second and third generations of the college’s faculty, giving him a unique sense of the school and its history. His arrival also coincided with six decades of profound change at the college and in San Marcos. He was often involved in the transitions that transformed a small teachers’ college into a doctoral granting university of almost 40,000 students. He served as a faculty member or administrator under seven presidents from J. Garland Flowers to Denise M. Trauth.
During more than forty years at Texas State, Ev rose through the faculty ranks from Instructor in American History to Professor of History in 1968. In addition to being a member of the teaching faculty, Ev served as an administrator, first the chair of the History Department, 1967-1980, and then as Special Assistant to President Jerome Supple, 1991-1993. His colleagues also elected him to terms on Faculty Senate, 1964-1967, 1981-1992 and 1993-1996, and in each term served as Chair of the Faculty Senate.
He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American history and his favorite course, a study of historians and their methods, was taken by generations of students completing M.A. degrees at the university. He shared his teaching philosophy with younger faculty— “we need to help students develop a love of history and the critical thinking skills that will serve them whatever they do in life.” His colleagues recognized his teaching accomplishments by awarding him the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1987 and the Faculty Senate Teaching Award in 1991. The Faculty Senate later renamed this award in his honor. When he retired from full-time teaching in 1996, the University awarded him the honorary title, Professor Emeritus, and in 1997 the Texas State University System Board of Regents conferred to him the honorary title Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus.
He was especially proud of his affiliation with the Texas State and occasionally reminded friends that not only had he taught there, but that all of his immediate family had earned degrees there. This pride and loyalty played a role in his and Donna’s establishment of the Swinney Faculty Development Fund at Texas State.
Ev is survived by his wife Donna, daughter Katy (Charlie) Clayton of San Marcos, daughter Gretchen Gibson of Austin, daughter Suzanne (Joey) Zavesky of Seguin, son Larry (Maria) Swinney of San Marcos, eleven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Everette and Donna Swinney Faculty Development Fund at Texas State University or a charity of one’s choice.