Evans, Ifor Leslie (1897-1952). Principal UCW, Aberystwyth.

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Evans, Ifor Leslie (1897-1952). Principal UCW, Aberystwyth.

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Ifor (Ivor) Leslie Evans the son of William John Evans and his wife Mary Elizabeth was born on the 17 January 1897. He studied at Wycliffe College, Stonehouse. In 1914 Ifor set out on a trip to France and Germany, to learn French and German respectively. It was while cycling through Germany that he was detained at the outbreak of World War I. Ifor spent the period 1914-1918 as a prisoner of war. Initially subjected to rough treatment at the hands of the criminal authorities, he spent most of the war interred at a prison camp at Ruhleben. It was at Ruhleben that Ifor met David Evans who taught him the Welsh language, which prompted him to alter his given name Ivor for the Welsh Ifor. Following the war Ifor studied at Cambridge where he obtained a first in both parts of the Tripos in Economics and History. After this he gained experience in University administration through a fellowship and spent much time traveling abroad. He became a lecturer and fellow of St John's College, Oxford having been elected Whewell scholar in international law. He also served on a League of Nations Commission on economic conditions in Austria. Ifor also had some books published; The Agrarian Revolution in Roumania (1924); The British in tropical Africa : an historical outline (1929) and Native policy in Southern Africa : an outline (1934). Ifor L. Evans was appointed Principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1934; he was described by the selection committee as having had "an outstanding career of exceptional promise". Interestingly enough Ifor had been considered for the post previously in 1927, but had been dismissed as "not yet ripe". Initial relations between the Principal and the President of the College were very good. Lord Davies was very pleased with the appointment in 1934 and the two were initially in complete agreement with how to move the College forwards. However, this working relationship did not last with a notable dispute in 1936 over the reappointment of the Wilson Chair of Colonial History. The disagreement ultimately resulted in the President's resignation, although he was persuaded to return in an honorary capacity 3 months later. Ifor is generally considered to have been a successful Principal (1934-1952). He significantly reduced the College debt, which had built up significantly due to pressure on the College during the years following the Great War. The man was one of the main driving forces in developing the Penglais site, having been in agreement with the President (Lord Davies) that the best prospects for future expansion lay on the hill. As Principal he was successful in securing a number of significant donors; Sir D. Owen (Liberal M.P. for a number of years) left the College £35,000 in his will; and an appeal to D. Alban Davies (a retired London milk merchant that had promised to aid to the College) in 1946 was instrumental in securing the future of the Penglais site. Ifor Evans also oversaw the reinstatement of the office of the Registrar; J. Morgan Thomas was appointed Registrar in 1936. This action would free the Principal from a great deal of the College's daily administration. Ifor L. Evans Principalship came to an abrupt end with his sudden death on the 31 May 1952.

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