KU alum Jeffrey Evans got his start in politics and finance at KU, found the successor to his family’s business in a fellow alum and now supports KU students in D.C. internships
A political education
Although he came from a family of pharmacists – his father ran the family-owned pharmacy in Missouri as his grandfather had before him – Jeffrey Evans knew his interests lay elsewhere. He got his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in political science, participating actively in extracurriculars and student advocacy work. As a student he even worked on the 1980 Bob Dole reelection campaign for U.S. Senate.
“When I was a student here, I got the chance to do some government work and student related advocacy work. That was a huge leg up for me,” Evans said. “My interest in political work germinated here.”
After graduating in 1982, Evans continued working for political campaigns. Eventually, he worked for the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign in 1984 as a campaign staffer. Yet, Evans decided he didn’t want to just work in politics for the rest of his life. Through his work, he had developed an interest in the financial field. To achieve those ambitions, he got his M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and began his career in finance.
From Jayhawk Blvd. to Wall St.
Evans worked his way up the ladder in Wall Street, eventually becoming a head of global capital markets. He credits his undergrad education at KU with helping him achieve that success.
“As the world evolves and we have a more global economy, you’ve got to have a great background in this. They don’t teach political systems in MBA school, so I think it turned out to be a great experience for me to have the political science background,” Evans said.
Evans still works in the financial sector, now mainly self-employed as a corporate capital and strategic advisor.
Supporting students to succeed
Evans now supports students who have similar ambitions that he had as a student. He helps fund the D.C. internship program run through the Department of Political Science at KU that places students in public service, political and governmental internships in the nation’s capital.
Evans said he wants ambitious students to be able to focus on their experience and work in D.C. instead of worrying about making ends meet financially. He decided to contribute to the KU program and have others match his contribution so students could learn as much as possible while dedicating themselves fully to their internships.
“You just know that there is somebody going to school here who someday hopes to be in Washington, D.C., doing something meaningful and that has to be facilitated. It just has to be.”
Jayhawks helping Jayhawks
Working on Wall Street in the financial sphere, Evans knew he wanted to ensure his family’s pharmacy would continue operating. His father had initiated a relationship with Kevin McCullough, an alum of the KU School of Pharmacy. Evans helped follow through with plans for McCullough to take over the pharmacy as a trusted successor.
McCullough now owns and runs Evans Pharmacy in a small town in southwest Missouri keeping the small business alive in the rural area.
“It was a nice way to see the legacy go on since the family had been in the pharmacy business for a long time,” Evans said. “There is no question that we have this [national] rural healthcare need.”