Edward Waters College

Edward Waters College is a private college located in Jacksonville, Florida. It was founded in 1866 to educate freed former slaves and is the oldest historically black college in Florida. It is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and is part of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. Its current president is Nat Glover, the former Sheriff of Jacksonville.

The first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) pastor in the state, William G. Steward, originally named the college Brown Theological Institute. The school went through some financial difficulties and closed for much of the 1870s. It reopened in 1883 as "East Florida Conference High School”, then changed to “East Florida Scientific and Divinity High School”. Over the next ten years, the curriculum was expanded and the school was renamed for the third bishop of the AME Church, Edward Waters. The original Edward Waters College campus was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901, but by 1904 new land was obtained and work was started on the new facility. Edward Waters was accredited as a junior college in 1955 under President William B. Stewart and five years later had a restored four-year curriculum. Beginning in 1979 the school was accredited as a four-year institution by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and started awarding bachelor's degrees.

Accreditation problems
In 2004, Edward Waters College submitted documents to SACS to support their request for reaccreditation. A Florida Times-Union investigation in October discovered that the EWC documents plagiarized sections of text and statistics from a similar Alabama A&M University document. The Commission on Colleges voted to drop EWC from membership in SACS, but the school appealed. A hearing was held in Atlanta during February 2005, and the appeal by Edward Waters College was denied. The school then filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction during litigation, which a federal judge granted. The judge stated that the college could show they were denied due process, and appointed two mediators. In June, the college and SACS agreed to a settlement that allowed the school to remain accredited while re-filing their accreditation documentation. The college's accreditation was reaffirmed in 2006.


Historic facilities
Centennial Hall, which contains the Obi-Scott-Umunna Collection of African Art, 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.


  • Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, served as president from 1997 to 2005 and was credited with increasing enrollment and raising standards at the school.
  • Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, former president of Bethune-Cookman College, served as interim president while a presidential search committee took two years to select a new leader.
  • Dr. Claudette Williams became the first female president of Edward Waters in 2007. She resigned in February, 2010 to assume a position as a vice president with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Nat Glover became EWC's 29th president on February 12, 2011.

Honorary Degrees
The school awarded honorary degrees to U.S. Representative Corrine Brown (who also served as a Faculty Member of the School), Florida State Representative Willye Dennis and John Delaney, former mayor of Jacksonville and current president of the University of North Florida.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability References Reggie Brown Jacksonville City Council Representative (Dem-District 10) Jim "Cannonball" Butler former NFL running back Nat Glover current president of Edward Waters and former head of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Betty Holzendorf former Florida State Representative from Jacksonville Dr. Fredrick Douglass Harper author and scholar Buck O'Neil attended but not graduate former Negro League Baseball Player Rahman Johnson TV Personality, Actor and former Duval County Commissioner

Building Activity

  • Levi Vaagenes
    Levi Vaagenes updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • Ernie Roth
    Ernie Roth updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com