John Evans ’17 Receives Carty Valedictory Medal, Addresses Class of 2017

Blind since the age of 5, Evans is a published author and graduated with an English major, a history minor and a medieval studies minor.

John EvansJohn Evans has nearly done it all during his four years at Manhattan College. He has published five different literary works, including two of his own poetry collections, performed at open mic nights, and is well-liked by his classmates and professors. This month, he will graduate as an English major, a history minor and a medieval studies minor.

He has done all of this without having the gift of sight, which he lost when he was 5. And at Undergraduate Commencement on May 19, Evans will receive the Carty Valedictory Medal and speak on behalf of the class of 2017.

“I am humbled receiving this great honor,” Evans said. “It is an honor representing this community of dedicated and courageous individuals. I am blessed to graduate alongside such excellent and compassionate peers.”

Growing up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., Evans believed his loss of sight at a young age was due to a genetic disorder. In 2014, while a student at Manhattan, Evans learned his blindness was actually the result of a brain tumor. Faced with a difficult surgery ahead, Evans remained in school, crediting the College’s Specialized Resource Center and his professors and friends for their support and flexibility while he dealt with a year’s worth of medical visits and tests.

A year later, Evans had published another collection of his poetry and prose, and earned Dean’s List honors, which he has received every semester of his college tenure.

Last year, Evans completed a Branigan Scholars Grant under the guidance of Jennifer Edwards, Ph.D., chair of the College’s history department. Evans is a member of Epsilon Sigma Pi, the most prestigious college-wide honor society on campus, and was recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

After graduation, Evans plans to pursue a postgraduate degree in medieval literature with aspirations to become a teacher.

Manhattan College will award approximately 700 undergraduates with degrees in 40 major fields of study from its Schools of Liberal Arts, Business, Education and Health, Engineering and Science on Friday, May 19.

Thomas J. Moran ’74 will deliver the keynote address at the College’s Undergraduate Commencement and will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.

For more information on Commencement 2017, visit

By Pete McHugh