Honoring Edward Waters College History

Last Updated on November 22, 2013

If you're considering attending Edward Waters College, you can be assured you're making an excellent choice. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Edward Waters is the oldest private college in the state. Even more impressive, Edward Waters is the very first African-American college in the state.

Noble Beginnings

The institution which would eventually become Edward Waters College began in 1866. The Reverend Charles H. Pearce of the American Methodist Episcopal Church was dispatched to the area following the Civil War and immediately recognized the need for education for the newly freed slaves. Reverend Pearce, together with Reverend William G. Steward, immediately began raising money to provide desperately needed education.

Times were tough at first. Despite emancipation, public opinions did not always follow with national law. Although it was a struggle, the school slowly grew. Attempting to meet all the academic needs of the area's African Americans, the school offered every level of education. Students could begin their elementary education, progress through high school, attend college and even, if they chose, obtain a seminary degree.

Construction began in 1872, thanks in part to donations. The name Edward Waters was chosen in 1892 to honor of a Bishop in the AME church.

Tragically, in 1901, nearly all of Jacksonville was ravaged by fire. The school was destroyed, along with most other buildings. Due to persistent backers, the school was rebuilt at its present site in 1904, where it has been furthering the education of African American students ever since.

Living Up to the Past

Edward Waters College LogoHonoring this proud history, Edward Waters College continues on today as a leader in diversity. The schools sticks to its Christian background and offers a rare combination of urban location and small class sizes. Students can thrive at Edward Waters with a choice of nine diverse degrees, all of which fully prepare students to succeed in the professional world.

Edward Waters understands the varying educational needs of students from many different backgrounds. The faculty at Edward Waters is experienced in teaching students with varying backgrounds and varying levels of academic success. Whether you're at the top of your class or you've been struggling for years, Edward Waters is dedicated to your success.

Student Activities

Although Edward Waters places the highest priority on student academics, sports and other activities are a great way to enrich your college experience. Sports at EWC include cheerleading, basketball, football, cross country, track and field, golf and volleyball, among others.

Photo by Edward Waters College

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