In 1884 he was elected the first principal of the University College of North Wales , Bangor , and held that office until his retirement in 1927 . He gathered around him a band of young scholars of high distinction, among whom were Henry Jones (q.v.) and W. Rhys Roberts (q.v.) and continued to build well on sure foundations. The developments which he most prized were the schools of agriculture and forestry, the department of music, and the school of theology, which united in a single faculty the teachers of the University College and of the denominational colleges at Bangor (see under Rees , Thomas , 1869 - 1926 ) .
With J. Viriamu Jones (q.v.) he played a leading part in the establishment in 1893 of the University of Wales , of which he was vice-chancellor for six periods. He championed successfully the ideal of a university whose primary functions should be teaching and research rather than examining, and he obtained a considerable measure of autonomy for the colleges.
He was knighted in 1907 , when king Edward VII laid the foundation stone of the fine new college buildings. He paid several visits to Sweden and was one of the Moseley Commissioners who went to the U.S.A. in 1903 ; he went to Australia in 1914 , and was one of the two commissioners who, in 1925 , went to New Zealand to advise upon its university system.
He left few written memorials — occasional papers and appreciations of colleagues. He will be remembered as one of the leading artificers of Welsh university education , and a man of high integrity and firm convictions, entirely free from personal ambitions. He acquired a very fair knowledge of Welsh . He d. at Biarritz , 22 June 1931 , and was buried at Whitechurch , Rathfarnham , near Dublin .
Emeritus Professor Sir David Emrys Evans, Ll.D., (1891-1966), Bangor
Published date: 1959