Passionate supporters of UMaine’s lively and long-standing literature programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, Steve Evans and Jennifer Moxley joined the UMaine faculty in 1999, drawn by the international reputation of and strong institutional support for the Center for Poetry and Poetics (then called the National Poetry Foundation). The couple helped to start the New Writing Series with their colleagues in the English department during their first year.
Evans and Moxley found community among those championing the creation of the McGillicudy Humanities Center. Steve served on the inaugural faculty advisory board set up by Dean Jeff Hecker to create a Humanities Center within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Jennifer was director of the Center when Clement and Linda McGillicuddy made their naming gift in July of 2018. Jennifer was also instrumental in the creation of the Undergraduate Fellowships that the Center awards to students from all majors who wish to pursue sustained research in the arts and humanities.
Their devotion to UMaine literary programs continued to expand. In their own words:
Initially, we thought we might just make a one-time contribution to [the McGillicuddy Humanities Center affiliated funds] as a quiet way of saying “thank you.” In a conversation over tea on our front porch facing Main Street in Orono one bright June day, Terri Beyer and Matt Mullen wondered if we might not consider lending our names to the roster of supporters. We promised we would talk it over and after several dinner-table debates we hit upon “the Moxley-Evans Fund for Literary Arts” as a complement to the Schmelzer-Livingston Fund for the Center for Poetry and Poetics, the Eaton Family New Writing Series Fund, and other UMaine Foundation donor investments (past and future) in the literary arts, with an emphasis on poetry. Our goal is to widen the horizons of students by supporting the creation, performance, and study of innovative literature at UMaine long after we’ve retired.
Steve and Jennifer share their enthusiasm with their students in the English Department and the McGillicuddy Humanities Center. Their generosity will allow students the opportunity to pursue their literary and poetic aspirations in a well-known and well-supported program. With their fund just finalized in January 2023, Evans and Moxley express their sincere intentions for it: “Orono has long been on the international map of modern and contemporary literature and our Fund is intended to help keep it there indelibly.”