The Oldest Florida HBCU Celebrates its 149th Anniversary

Bishop Edward Waters, the third Bishop of A.M.E. Church.
Bishop Edward Waters, the third Bishop of the A.M.E. Church.

In recognition of Edward Waters College (EWC) 149th anniversary, Jacksonville, Florida Mayor Alvin Brown has issued a proclamation declaring April 8, 2015 as “Edward Waters College” day. Edward Waters College, Florida’s oldest historically black college and private institution of higher learning, will be celebrating Founders’ Day Wednesday, April 8, 2015 on the campus.

Formerly named Brown’s Theological Institute, EWC was founded in 1866 by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church to educate newly emancipated slaves. The school met the needs of its community by offering courses at the elementary, high school, college and seminary levels. Construction on the first building began in 1872 on ten acres of land in Live Oak, Florida.

In 1892 the school’s name was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the third Bishop of the AME Church. The school moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1893 where the campus was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901. In 1904 the Board of Trustees purchased the present site of the school on Kings Road where it was rebuilt.

Decades later, Edward Waters College continues to educate students of all races and religions. The College continues its mission of advancing students in a global society through excellence of scholarship, research and service for the betterment of humanity.

The Founders’ Day celebration began at 10:00 a.m. on April 8th with an observance service featuring Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr., Pastor Emeritus of the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church in the Adams-Jenkins Sports and Music Complex.

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