Born 29 March 1891, son of the Rev. T. Valentine Evans, Baptist minister, Clydach, Glamorganshire. He received his education at Ystalyfera county school and the University College of North Wales, Bangor, where he graduated with first-class honours in Latin in 1911 and in Greek in 1912. He took his Oxford B.Litt. from Jesus College, and was elected a Fellow of the University of Wales. For a short period he was assistant master at Pentre secondary school and Classics master at Longton High School. In 1919 he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in Classics at University College, Bangor, and Professor of Classics at University College, Swansea, in 1921. He returned to Bangor as Principal in 1927, where he remained until his retirement in 1958. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales for four terms — 1933-35, 1941-44, 1948-50, 1954-56. He was chairman of the Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales) 1944-46, and of the Schools Broadcasting Council (Wales); deputy-chairman of the Local Government Commission for Wales 1959-62; a member of the Welsh Advisory Committee of the National Trust and of the Welsh Committee of the Arts Council. He also sat on the Royal Commission on University Education in Dundee 1951-52. He was awarded the degree of LL.D. honoris causa by the University of Wales and the University of Liverpool. The city of Bangor made him an honorary freeman in 1958. He was knighted in 1952.
Sir Emrys published the following works: Amserau'r Testament Newydd (1926), Crefydd a Chymdeithas (1933), Y Clasuron yng Nghymru (the B.B.C.'s annual lecture in Welsh, 1952), and The University of Wales, a historical sketch (1953). His main contribution however was the series of translations into Welsh of Plato's works: Amddiffyniad Socrates (1936), Phaedon (1938), Ewthaffron: Criton (1943), Gorgias (1946) and Y Wladwriaeth (1956). Sir Emrys read widely and discriminately in Welsh and thus gained a mastery of the literary language, which he wrote with classical accuracy and an occasional touch of archaism, well suited to the translations from Greek, and, in accordance with the standards recognised at the time, to the translations of the books of the New Testament which were produced under the auspices of the University. Sir Emrys was a member of the panel responsible for translating Matthew, Luke and Acts. He also assisted with the translation of the New Testament into Welsh which appeared in 1975. As an administrator he was unobtrusive but firm.
He married G. Nesta Jones of Pontypridd in 1927, and they had a son and a daughter. He died 20 February 1966.
Published date: 2001
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