VIDEO: Parker Evatt named Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recipient

A degree in mechanical engineering usually leads to a career in manufacturing, but Parker Evatt’s bachelor's led him to a life of building people’s lives. 

Evatt, bachelor's ’57 and master's ’78, was the first director of the Alston Wilkes Society, an organization that helps inmates re-enter society, provides housing and job placement for veterans and operates group foster homes for children.

“I believe in helping other people, especially the downtrodden,” says Evatt, who gives a lot of credit to his strong Christian faith.

Evatt worked at the nonprofit for more than 20 years, even after being elected to the S.C. General Assembly. One of his greatest accomplishments in the legislature was his work to create a department of education inside the prison system.

“If you just send a person to prison, lock them up and throw away the key, then you haven’t helped anybody. Because when they get out, they’re still going to be illiterate with no job skills. What are they going to do? Go back to their old friends,” says Evatt.

Evatt left elected office to head up the state Department of Corrections, where he continued to work to reduce the recidivism rate of inmates. Twenty years after retiring, he continues to volunteer to help vulnerable populations.

The My Carolina Alumni Association named Evatt the recipient of its 2014 Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, which is given to the alumnus who exhibits outstanding service to his country that goes beyond what’s required by his profession.

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