A Great Day: 2016 Alumni Awards
It was a great day to be a Bishop.
Evan Corns ’59 and his wife, Barbara, had a memorable Alumni Weekend this year, as he proudly received the Alumni Award on the same stage as four of his close friends: Bob Gillespie ’66, Mike Long ’66, Rand Griffin ’66, and Greg Moore ’76.
“To have received my award from David Livingston, longtime OWU alumni friend and the son of my ’59 classmate and great friend, Barry Livingston, was very special,” says Corns.
The man who coined the catch-phrase “It’s a great day to be a Bishop” has remained actively engaged with the Ohio Wesleyan community throughout his life. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1992, serving first as a Trustee-at-Large, then an Alumni Trustee, and now a Life Trustee. He and Barbara are members of the Founders’ Circle, Tower Society, and President’s Circle.
Corns has created several endowments and donated funds to name the R.W. Corns Building in memory of his father. He also has been a strong supporter of Battling Bishop athletics and Team OWU. Currently, he hopes to do all he can to help Ohio Wesleyan achieve its goal of enrolling 2,020 students by 2020.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in history at OWU, Corns earned his M.A. from the University of North Carolina. While at Ohio Wesleyan, he was a leader in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity. William F. Bigelow and John Henry Reed played major roles in his Ohio Wesleyan fraternity experience. “Their leadership, humanity, and love of fraternity made a lifelong impression on me,” he says.
Corns also acknowledges Professor of History Emeritus Richard Smith as an influential mentor. “At best, I was a very average classroom student, but it was in the non-classroom sessions—notably coffee at the MUB—that Richard Smith impacted me the most,” he says.
“His tales of military valor and leadership, generals who wore both blue and gray, inspired in me a passion which I later translated to a leadership/management style in my corporate endeavors,” he says. “Lessons in battle translate effectively to lessons in business.”
Corns founded America’s Body Company in 1976, and under his leadership, it became the largest business of its kind in the United States, with seven facilities nationwide and annual sales of more than $120 million.
He retired from the company in 1998, but he continues to contribute his business expertise to OWU as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board for The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship.
“Ohio Wesleyan is my hobby,” says Corns of his life after retirement.
“As the plaque on our Founders Plaza notes: ‘So much of what I am or ever hope to be I owe to Ohio Wesleyan University and to Ohio Delta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon,’” he says. “Ohio Wesleyan made my life. Any financial success I have received has, to a large degree, gone to OWU as my way of saying ‘thank you.’”
– Julia Stone ’16