He is a native of Llandysul, in Ceredigion, Wales. A graduate of Swansea University (Wales) he became Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering at Cardiff University, where he spent 26 years of his career. Evans was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2002, for services to higher education.
He served as Deputy Principal at Cardiff University for four years before his appointment as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, Bangor in 1995, retiring in 2004.
He was a Welsh Supernumerary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford for the academic year 1998/9.