Eva Foldes Travers
Eva Travers, 77, a longtime resident of Swarthmore and professor emerita at Swarthmore College, died on Saturday, July 13, 2019 in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Mass.
Eva joined the Department of Educational Studies (then the Program in Education) at Swarthmore College in 1975 as its first tenure track professor. In the years until she retired, in 2006, Eva touched the lives of thousands of students. During those years, Eva developed courses in urban education and educational policy that became foundational both in the department and at the college. She hired several of the faculty who make up the department today, served on committees across the college, and from 1988-1991 served as Associate Dean and then Acting Dean of the College. In 1999, Eva received the Lindback Award for Outstanding Teaching at Swarthmore College.
At an alumni symposium held in 2005 to honor Eva at her retirement, former students talked about the lasting impact she had on them people and professionals. In recent Facebook posts, many of her former students noted that Eva had “changed my life,” “was the reason I went into education.” Others talked about her as a caring model: “Her kindness remains one of the hallmarks of my college experience and reminds me how we should support our students.”
Eva’s research changed over the course of her career at Swarthmore but always focused on policies and practices around issues of equity. In her early work she did a longitudinal study of women's personal and political development, starting when the women were in high school in 1970 and concluding in 1987. During the early 1990's, during the democratic transition in Hungary, she spent several months there doing field research on the challenges for civic education and the teaching of history. Eva was also engaged in policy issues related to teacher quality and the role of teacher education in liberal arts colleges through national committees and the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education. In the 2000’s, Eva helped to conduct a longitudinal study of the radical reorganization of the Philadelphia School District under Pennsylvania state takeover.
Eva and her husband, Jeff Travers, moved to Cambridge, Mass. when Eva retired, but she made frequent trips to Swarthmore to visit with her daughter, Emily Travers, and her two grandchildren, Jackson Wolbridge and Gabriella Carroll. She was a deeply caring mother to both Emily and her son Nick Travers, of Cambridge, MA and a devoted grandmother to Jackson and Gabriella.
The family will have a private ceremony in Cape Cod to celebrate Eva’s life. Information about a memorial service will be shared when it becomes available.