Dr. Slavens was known as a dedicated teacher and mentor for many students and young colleagues throughout his career and maintained lifelong relationships with them. He earned his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and PhD degrees in history at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He taught at the School of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo., and began a 36-year teaching career at Ouachita in 1961, where he was chairman of the history department and retired in 1997.
“The most gratifying thing for me as a teacher is the opportunity to help people grow,” Dr. Slavens noted as he reflected on his teaching career. “I want so much to let students know that there’s a whole other world out there beyond their own.”
“Dr. Slavens served many year as head of Ouachita’s then division of social sciences, which he left much stronger than he found it,” said Dr. Randall Wight, dean of Ouachita’s Sutton School of Social Sciences. “As history department chair, he assembled and presided over a sterling group of colleagues. He gave campus voice to a scholar’s aspirations of teaching and research.
“He arranged his life so that nobody felt sorry for him,” Dr. Wight added. “Everett was a profile in courage, a figure of lore. For generations of students and colleagues, his name conjures a Ouachita not lost to the mists of time.”
During his teaching career, he participated in National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars at Boston College, Vanderbilt University, Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a seminar in South Africa, where he met President Nelson Mandela.
Following his retirement, he moved to The Woodlands Texas, where he participated in volunteer programs with The Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church in Mexico and Zambia. He also volunteered in programs in prisons and nursing homes. He was an active member of the Care Team, devoting much of his time to AIDS and Alzheimer’s groups. He also served as an elder in the Presbyterian churches where he lived and was a delegate to the General Assembly.
He is survived by his children, Margaret Evans, Rebecca Bowen and Douglas Slavens; his grandchildren, Neil Evans, Kyle Evans, Lauren Slavens, Jacob Marquez, Rachael Bowen and Matthew Bowen; and his great granddaughters, Ava and Kate Evans. He also is survived by three sisters, three nieces, one nephew and their families. Memorial services will be held June 3 at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Arkadelphia, Ark., and June 10 in Las Cruces, N.M. Memorial gifts may be made to the Ouachita Baptist University Cornerstone Fund.
May 16, 2017