As an undergraduate, she was the first of two African-American women to reside on Douglass Campus. She went on to forge new paths and break barriers throughout her lifetime.
In our AADC community, Evelyn was the first African-American president of the AADC and was one of the founders of the AADC Black Alumnae Network (BAN), which she served as the first president. She helped what is now our oldest alumnae network take root and thrive. Today, the Evelyn Sermons Field ’49 Literary Society, named in her honor, reminds alumnae participating in its book discussions of her impact. She also generously established the Evelyn Sermons Field '49 Scholarship Fund for Douglass students.
Evelyn grew up in Somerville, NJ, where she was a graduate of its public schools and later served as a teacher and educational media specialist. She remained active in her community and in issues about which she cared deeply. She marched, protested and raised funds during the Civil Rights movement as a member of the Somerville Negro Civic Council. She held many positions locally with the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) and initiated educational, cultural enrichment, youth recognition and career development programs for young people. She rose to serve at the state and national level with the NCNW.
Evelyn was committed to community college education and served for more than 40 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Raritan Valley Community College, which named its library in her honor. Under her leadership, the college established The Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice. For this work, she was honored with the Northeast Region Equity Award from the Association of Community College Trustees and the inaugural Ronald D. Winthers Community College Trustee Leadership Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.
Her achievements and accolades are numerous. Evelyn's life was one of service and philanthropy to the AADC, Douglass College, Rutgers University, Raritan Valley Community College and the greater New Jersey community. She was the recipient of the AADC Alumnae Recognition Award, Margaret T. Corwin Award, the Vanguard 50 Service Award, the Rutgers Alumni Meritorious Service Award, and was a member of The AADC Society of Excellence honoring her distinguished achievement as a community leader. She was named a New Jersey Woman of Achievement by the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs of GFWC and Douglass Residential College. She was inducted into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame, served for many years as the Douglass Alumnae representative to the Rutgers Board of Trustees and she was honored as a Rutgers Loyal Daughter.
"Evelyn was a friend and mentor and was so proud to see me named the first Black Executive Director of the AADC. She generously shared her knowledge of the history of BAN and insights from her time at NJC," says AADC Executive Director Valerie Anderson '81.
The AADC is committed to supporting our Black alumnae as well as to creating platforms and sacred spaces to have the needed dialogue to educate, create awareness, expose barriers, implement change and lead through our actions and deeds.
We honor women like Evelyn Sermons Field ’49 during Black History Month and all year long. We are better together as we move forward together.