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Edward Waters College

Anchoring Mid-Westside, Edward Waters College was founded in 1866 to educate freed former slaves and is the oldest black college in Florida.

Published May 17, 2010 in Neighborhoods      19 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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About Edward Waters College



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Edward Waters College is a private, historically black college whose future is lined with pride, growth, and success. Edward Waters College, the oldest private institution of higher education in the state of Florida, was founded in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed slaves.

Celebrating 140 years of service, Edward Waters College was initially named "Brown Theological Institute" by Rev. William G. Steward, the first AME pastor in the state. The school experienced some financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883, the school reopened under the name of "East Florida Conference High School” and later, “East Florida Scientific and Divinity High School”. Within a decade, the educational program was extended and the school’s name was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the third bishop of the AME church. Through the years, the College has withstood the test. After being destroyed by fire in 1901, the College acquired the current site in 1904 and began to rebuild. The school was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 under President William B. Stewart, and by 1960 the College had restored its four-year curriculum. In 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the College as a four-year institution and the College remains accredited by SACS.

Edward Waters College continues under the leadership of President Dr. Claudette H. Williams, the 28th president who took the helm June 2007. She brings leadership experience and continues the legacy of academic excellence and institutional pride through the "Double E Principle: Excellence and Ethics". The Principle encourages the student’s desire and thirst for knowledge, unyielding commitment to service, and strong adherence to high ethical values. We believe these principles are the characteristics of a good citizen.

Located on the Kings Road corridor, in close proximity to downtown Jacksonville, FL, Edward Waters College continues to build upon its solid foundation of teaching, research, and community outreach. The College’s current enrollment is 839 students, with approximately 51% of the student body is male, 49% female, and over 90% of the students rely on financial aid. The College has also expanded its land and is still growing, and because of this growth, the College was highlighted in The Florida Leader Magazine "The Best of Florida Schools 2004" for the "Biggest Growth for Private Colleges". The Music and Fine Arts Department was also featured as the "Best Music for Private Colleges" which highlighted the world renowned EWC Choir and the Triple Threat Marching Band.

Football returned in 2001 after a 34-year absence with the program becoming a championship team. The Tigers were named 2004 SEAC Champions. Along with football, the marching band returned. The Triple Threat Marching Band has continued to make waves and has performed during halftime for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Purple Thunder Dance Squad, the group of plus-sized ladies who perform with the band, was highlighted in "The Best of Florida Schools 2005" as the "Best Non-Traditional Dance Squad". The Lady Tigers Basketball Team claimed its second EIAC Championship in 2005 as well as the Tigers Volleyball Team. The Baseball and Softball teams also clinched the 2005 EIAC Region 14 Championship.

Today the College stands as a beacon of hope for many young people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to enter higher education. Edward Waters College prepares students for careers in teaching, technology, research, religion, politics, and other leading fields of today and in the future. Edward Waters College is moving forward!
http://www.ewc.edu/about-us








Lee-Cousins Building (B.F. Lee Theological Seminary Building) is a three-story Tudor Revival-style structure built in 1925-1927 to house the college's Theological Department. Today the building has the Milne Auditorium and administrative and business offices for the campus.




The George N. Collins Student Union Building



Centennial Hall is the oldest building on campus. Built in 1916, it was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 1976. Now the college library, this structure was designed by Richard Lewis Brown (1854-1948), Jacksonville's first-known black architect. Centennial Hall is also the home of the Obi-Scott-Umunna Collection of African Art. This collection consists of masks, musical instruments, bronze statuettes, carved ivory and many other artifacts represent artistic traditions that have thrived in Central and West Africa.







The Susie Tolbert House, is named for Susie Ella Middelton Tolbert. Ms. Tolbert was active in the civic, educational, and religious affairs of the community. Future plans involve renovating the structure to live on as an important landmark of the campus and serve as a Community Preservation learning laboratory.

The laboratory will be utilized as an internship center where EWC students will gain experience in historic developments in inner city neighborhoods, knowledge in research methodology, public speech, and use of development software.




The 50,000 square-foot John Hurst Adams – Jimmy R. Jenkins Community Sports and Music Center seats 1,800 persons and contains classrooms, music and fine arts suites, concession stands, locker rooms and offices. The facility was constructed at a cost of $9,000,00 and was the first major construction project on the campus in more than 40 years.





EWC Timeline

1865
 
Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne sent Reverend Charles H. Pearce, Presiding Elder of the AME Church, to Florida to establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Reverend Pearce observed the need for an educated ministry for newly emancipated blacks in the State and raised funds to establish a school. He was aided by the Reverend William G. Steward, the first AME pastor in the State.
 
1866
 
Bishop Charles H. Pearce started a school for the education of newly-freed slaves, especially those wanting to enter the AME ministry.
 
1870
 
Reverend W.D. Johnson named the school Brown Theological Institute.

Live Oak, Florida is chosen as the site for the new school.
 
1872
 
The Brown Theological Institute was chartered by the state legislature. It then purchased ten acres of land in Live Oak where construction of the first building was undertaken. Further support for the effort came from numerous friends, including railroad magnate General M.S. Littlefield, State Treasurer Simon Conaber, and Lieutenant-General William Gleason. The name was changed to Brown University. Financial difficulties arose from an embezzlement scheme, awarding school properties to creditors. Consequently, the school ceased to function for a decade. There followed a series of name changes, adjustments in program offerings, and eventually changed locations.
 
1873

 
A cornerstone laying ceremony with governor and dignitaries was held.

Inscription:

Erected for Educational Purposes
July 4th, A.D. 1872
By the A.M.E. Church
Rev. Chas. H. Pearce, P. E., Founder

Governor Ossian B. Hart authorized change of name to Brown’s University of the State of Florida.
 
1874
 
The name was changed to Brown University.
 
1889
 
After financial difficulties, Mt. Zion AME Church houses classes and the name was changed to Florida Normal Scientific and Divinity High School.
 
1891
 
School holds commencement for its first five graduates.
 
1892
 
The name was changed to Edward Waters College.
 
1901
 
The Great Fire of Jacksonville destroyed the school, which was then located on Beaver Street.
 
1904 – 1908
 
School moves to current Kings Road location and begins rebuilding.
 
1908 – 1912
 
Bishop M. B. Salter erects Salter Hall.
 
1912 – 1916
 
Bishop John Hurst raises $15,000 to clear the school’s $13,000 debt.

Elder Pearce’s property is bought and remodeled into the Episcopal Residence.
 
1925
 
Rev. G.E. Curry builds the Lee Building.
 
1929
 
 The Putman Labor Company sues the school; the college is sold to satisfy the judgment. Rev. G.E. Curry bought the school and gave it back to the AME Church.
 
Early 1930s
 
The building program resumed with the construction of a cafeteria and women's dormitory. The H.Y. Tookes Building was completed in 1945 and served as the central library until 1979, when the Centennial Building was renovated for that purpose.
 
1935
 
The College’s dining hall and girls dormitory were destroyed by fire.
 
1936
 
Rev. G.E. Curry rebuilds the Dining Hall.
 
1955
 
President Stewart sees the school accredited as a junior college by SACS.
 
1958
 
The school expanded to offer senior college work.
 
1960
 
The college gains four-year college status and begins to offer BA degrees.
 
1960s – 1970s
 
 Support dwindled and the school faced closing.
 
1973
 
 The college renews its purpose and fervor under President Tucker.
 
1985
 
The College grew to an average full-time enrollment of 650 students and became the 43rd member of the United Negro College Fund.
 
2001
 
Football returns after 34 years. The Centennial Building was refurbished with funding from the Jessie Ball Dupont Foundation.
 
2004
 
Construction for the John Hurst Adams/Jimmy R. Jenkins Sports and Music Center scheduled for completion in spring 2006.
 
2006
 
The College celebrated 140 years of commitment to the community. The college continues to grow with enrollment of 842 students and over 150 faculty and staff.
 
2007
 
Dr. Claudette H. Williams began her tenure as the 28th President of Edward Waters College and the first female President in the College’s History.
 
http://www.ewc.edu/about-us/history



Morris Cone A & B was built in 1982 and has 22,580 square feet. The two buildings provide larger living spaces and better storage and closet space. The common area bathrooms and laundry rooms are centrally located on each floor. Morris Cone A is the men's dormitory; Morris Cone B is the women's dormitory. The facility has a total of 86 residential rooms.





Honor Village facility was leased in 2002 and is comprised of three mobile units designed for academic honor students. Students must have a 3.0 or above GPA. The units have a total of 22 rooms, which can house 44 students.













Future plans indicate continued growth along Kings Road, forming a viable pedestrian friendly connection between the school and the proposed north commuter rail corridor.




Notable Alumni

A. Philip Randolph - founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Nat Glover - former sheriff of Jacksonville, Florida  

Betty Holzendorf - former Florida State Senator (D-Jacksonville)  

Fredrick Douglass Harper - author and scholar  

Rahman Johnson - TV personality, actor and former Commissioner  

Reggie Brown - Jacksonville City Council Representative (D-District 10)  

Buck O'Neil - Negro League Baseball player  

Corrine Brown - honorary degrees to U.S. Representative who also served as a faculty member of the school  

Willye Dennis - Florida State Representative  

John Delaney - former mayor of Jacksonville, Florida and current president of the University of North Florida

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Waters_College

Edward Waters College is located at 1658 Kings Road, just west of downtown Jacksonville.

Article by Ennis Davis







19 Comments

Miss Fixit

May 17, 2010, 07:51:56 AM
Thank you for this, Ennis - I've always wanted to know more about Edward Waters and its history.  Never heard there was an African art collection on campus - is it open to the public and, if so, do you know on what days and times?  And did Susie Tolbert actually live in the house that is her namesake?

thelakelander

May 17, 2010, 08:33:40 AM
Its open Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm.
http://www.planetware.com/jacksonville/obi-scott-umunna-collection-of-african-art-us-fl-obi.htm

thelakelander

May 17, 2010, 08:37:04 AM
I don't know if Mrs. Tolbert lived in the house named after her, but here is the master plan for the house and surrounding block.



Coolyfett

May 17, 2010, 10:12:34 AM
I always wish this school was in downtown instead of where it is located. It would be better if it was in the core.

Miss Fixit

May 17, 2010, 10:13:35 AM
Nice if it had originally been in the core but way too much history associated with its site to move now.....

Captain Zissou

May 17, 2010, 10:31:04 AM
Any way that map of the future developments can get blown up?  I'm having trouble reading it.  It looks like the development will be well dense and well oriented on Kings Rd, which would be great for the area. 

thelakelander

May 17, 2010, 10:48:38 AM
Nice if it had originally been in the core but way too much history associated with its site to move now.....

EWC originally started off in DT (in LaVilla) but relocated to Kings Road when the original school burned down.  Nevertheless, EWC is in the core, just like Spellman, Morehouse, Morris Brown and Clark are in Atlanta's core.  We just have to realize that our core is larger than the CBD and work together to better connect our core districts together.  You know you achieved success when core neighborhoods start to blend together and you can't tell where the CBD starts and another neighborhood begins. This is where places like Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, DC, Portland and most recently Charlotte are succeeding.  This is where Jacksonville needs to get for true vibrancy.  However, to get there, we have to realize that our CBD is only one small part of a larger puzzle.

fieldafm

May 17, 2010, 12:10:37 PM
Isn't Nat Glover the president at EWC now?

ESHC

May 17, 2010, 12:33:03 PM
I believe Nat Glover is interim president. The link is to an April 13th TU article.

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2010-04-13/story/expand-mission

duvaldude08

May 19, 2010, 04:14:07 PM
I really hope Nat becomes the president permenately. I want EWC something to proud of, not laughed at. In the black community EWC is the butt of all jokes (Im guilty of it myself lol). Nat Glover ran the hell out of JSO for 8 years and I believe that type of discipline and respect is needed at EWC. He also very intelligent, well spoken and cares about the community as a whole. (not just the black community). He will whip them right into shape.

urbanlibertarian

May 22, 2010, 07:10:01 PM
From the Florida Times-Union:

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-05-22/story/edward-waters-college-try-new-town-grant

Edward Waters College to try for New Town grant
Nat Glover’s leadership is considered a key factor in refocusing of effort.
Posted: May 22, 2010 - 7:16am

By Topher Sanders

Jacksonville’s application for a federal grant for New Town Success Zone will now be in the name of Edward Waters College, the city announced Friday.


The U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhood program will award up to $500,000 in year-long planning grants to 20 organizations across the country that are attempting to reproduce the lauded Harlem Children’s Zone.


New Town Success Zone is modeled after the Harlem program and aims to improve the health and education of children in a swath of northwest Jacksonville.


The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida will write the application on behalf of the college, but the city will continue to run the program.


New Town officials said last month that the health council would apply on behalf of the city, but now say EWC is a natural fit for the initiative.


“Our ultimate goal was to have our students end up in college,” said New Town Director PeDro Cohen . “We thought it was just a good look for us as a program and as a community to have that college be Edward Waters College.”


Cohen noted that the college’s Shell-Sweet Community Resource Center is already an intricate part of the Success Zone with GED training, help for the elderly and computer training.


Nat Glover, co-chairman of New Town, was also named Edward Waters’ interim president in February and took over this week. Cohen said that appointment was a factor in having the college apply for the grant.


“EWC has been so involved in the Success Zone since the beginning,” Glover said. “I grew up in the neighborhood and to come back to my alma mater as interim president and to help with this program is great.”


If awarded the grant, planning for the initiative will be a collaborative effort between the health council, EWC and the city, Cohen said.


The health council notified the Department of Education of EWC’s intent to apply for the grant on Friday. The application is due June 25.

thelakelander

July 04, 2010, 06:10:52 AM
Jacksonville's EWC, other black colleges seek to rebrand themselves to stay alive
full article:http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-07-03/story/ewc-other-black-colleges-seek-rebrand-themselves-stay-alive

The three quotes below isolate EWC's problem and present a potential solution:

Problem: No niche or program to attract students
Quote
In 1920, there were 217 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Edward Waters nationwide.

Now there are 105 in 20 states, primarily in the South, and many are wrestling with slim budgets and enrollment drop-offs.

The key to survival, some college administrators and academics say, is for struggling black colleges like Edward Waters to rebrand themselves.

The more successful schools have trademark programs that set them apart from the pack. Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, for instance, has a prominent pharmacy school that has helped place it among the upper echelon of black colleges.  Schools that haven't identified a strong niche program, like Edward Waters, have had difficulty marketing themselves to prospective scholars.

Problem: Bad marketing
Quote
Kelley Evans, 23, a second-year pharmacy student at FAMU and a 2005 graduate of Orange Park High, attended Florida State College at Jacksonville before enrolling in FAMU's program. She felt EWC has to do more promotion.

"UNF and [FSCJ] were publicized and you knew more about them in the community than EWC," Evans said after one of her pharmacy classes last week. "EWC could have been an option, but I didn't know much about it."

Potential Solution
Quote
That's why Glover said he's prepared to shake things up. He's honed in on a few areas that could be the school's ticket to regional prominence.

He said Edward Waters has tried for years to link up with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office or other law enforcement agencies to bring a criminology lab to campus, and his contacts from his days as sheriff could help make that a reality.

His other vision is to use Jacksonville's own transportation infrastructure, which includes ports, buses and the airport, to help create a niche in transportation technology and logistics.

There is one shared thread between the signature programs he's brainstorming - they're all intrinsically linked to Jacksonville. Edward Waters is a historic part of the city, and he said the school needs to show the community its worth before it can expect a turnaround.

buckethead

July 04, 2010, 08:53:12 AM
Could recruitment of students from a wider range of racial background be a plausible solution?

thelakelander

July 04, 2010, 09:08:45 AM
It could.  However, I would assume the majority of HBCUs already do this.  I know FAMU and BCC do.

jacksonvilleconfidential

July 06, 2010, 05:08:50 PM
Are they still doing the free bus rides with an EWC ID?


http://www.jacksonvilleconfidential.com/2008/01/student-ids-bus-ticket.html

Coolyfett

July 06, 2010, 08:35:43 PM
Nice if it had originally been in the core but way too much history associated with its site to move now.....

EWC originally started off in DT (in LaVilla) but relocated to Kings Road when the original school burned down.  Nevertheless, EWC is in the core, just like Spellman, Morehouse, Morris Brown and Clark are in Atlanta's core.  We just have to realize that our core is larger than the CBD and work together to better connect our core districts together.  You know you achieved success when core neighborhoods start to blend together and you can't tell where the CBD starts and another neighborhood begins. This is where places like Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, DC, Portland and most recently Charlotte are succeeding.  This is where Jacksonville needs to get for true vibrancy.  However, to get there, we have to realize that our CBD is only one small part of a larger puzzle.

Morehouse & Clark & Brown are NOT in the core, they are in Westend. WestEnd is not apart of downtown.

Coolyfett

July 06, 2010, 08:46:22 PM
Jacksonville's EWC, other black colleges seek to rebrand themselves to stay alive
full article:http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-07-03/story/ewc-other-black-colleges-seek-rebrand-themselves-stay-alive

The three quotes below isolate EWC's problem and present a potential solution:

Problem: No niche or program to attract students
Quote
In 1920, there were 217 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Edward Waters nationwide.

Now there are 105 in 20 states, primarily in the South, and many are wrestling with slim budgets and enrollment drop-offs.

The key to survival, some college administrators and academics say, is for struggling black colleges like Edward Waters to rebrand themselves.

The more successful schools have trademark programs that set them apart from the pack. Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, for instance, has a prominent pharmacy school that has helped place it among the upper echelon of black colleges.  Schools that haven't identified a strong niche program, like Edward Waters, have had difficulty marketing themselves to prospective scholars.

Problem: Bad marketing
Quote
Kelley Evans, 23, a second-year pharmacy student at FAMU and a 2005 graduate of Orange Park High, attended Florida State College at Jacksonville before enrolling in FAMU's program. She felt EWC has to do more promotion.

"UNF and [FSCJ] were publicized and you knew more about them in the community than EWC," Evans said after one of her pharmacy classes last week. "EWC could have been an option, but I didn't know much about it."

Potential Solution
Quote
That's why Glover said he's prepared to shake things up. He's honed in on a few areas that could be the school's ticket to regional prominence.

He said Edward Waters has tried for years to link up with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office or other law enforcement agencies to bring a criminology lab to campus, and his contacts from his days as sheriff could help make that a reality.

His other vision is to use Jacksonville's own transportation infrastructure, which includes ports, buses and the airport, to help create a niche in transportation technology and logistics.

There is one shared thread between the signature programs he's brainstorming - they're all intrinsically linked to Jacksonville. Edward Waters is a historic part of the city, and he said the school needs to show the community its worth before it can expect a turnaround.

Logistics & Transportation is the WAY to go!! Also sports is a major factor. Im interested to see what they do there.

Coolyfett

July 06, 2010, 08:47:45 PM
Could recruitment of students from a wider range of racial background be a plausible solution?

Yep! It sure can! They just need to think outside the box.

thelakelander

July 06, 2010, 08:54:28 PM
Morehouse & Clark & Brown are NOT in the core, they are in Westend. WestEnd is not apart of downtown.

Urban Atlanta is much larger than downtown.  Westend, Midtown, Cabbagetown, Five Points, etc. are all parts of Atlanta's urban core.
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