Evergreen Remembers Joe Dear

One of Evergreen’s most influential alumni, Joe Dear ’77, was remembered at a celebration of his life on April 5 at the college.

Joe Dear

Dear died on February 26 in Sacramento after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 62.

“Joe was living proof of the value of an Evergreen education,” said Evergreen President Les Purce. “He always said Evergreen taught him how to learn and how to solve problems, which is exactly what he did.”

An accomplished public servant, Dear was noted for restoring to solvency the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension fund, in the wake of the global financial crisis. Dear also headed the Washington State Investment Board and Department of Labor and Industries, led the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration under President Clinton, and served as chief of staff to Washington Governor Gary Locke.

A lifelong advocate for Evergreen, he generously supported scholarships and served on the college’s foundation and alumni boards from 2002 to 2008. Dear credited Carolyn Dobbs, and her requirement that students in her program attend public meetings, for sparking his fascination with government and the legislative process. In his honor, Dear’s family received the newly created Joe Dear Distinguished Alumni Award at the President’s Recognition Dinner on May 13.

Gifts to honor Joe can be made to Evergreen’s Joseph A. Dear Scholarship Endowment.