Edward Waters College is a private college 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.


The first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) pastor in the state, William G. Steward, originally named the college Brown Theological Institute. Charles H. Pearce was also involved in establishing an educational institution for the church.

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.[1]

Drawing of John R. Scott and students.

A drawing of 1893 shows that the College President at that time was John R. Scott, Sr., first pastor of the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Jacksonville, and a member of the Florida Legislature.[2]

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, thus revoking the school's accreditation, but the school appealed.[3] 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.[4] The judge stated that the college could show they were denied due process, and appointed two mediators.[5] In June, the college and SACS agreed to a settlement that allowed the school to remain accredited while re-filing their accreditation documentation.[6] The college's accreditation was reaffirmed in 2006.


Edward Waters College offers bachelor's degrees in eight academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration.[7]


Centennial Hall
Jax FL Centennial Hall01.jpg
Edward Waters College is located in Florida
Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College is located in the US
Edward Waters College
Location 1658 Kings Rd., Jacksonville, Florida
Coordinates 30°20′42″N 81°41′04″W / 30.3450°N 81.6844°W / 30.3450; -81.6844
Area less than one acre
Built 1916
Architect Howells & Stokes
NRHP reference # 76000589[8]
Added to NRHP May 4, 1976

Historic facilities

Centennial Hall

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.[8] It was designed by Richard Lewis Brown, Jacksonville’s first known black architect.[9]


  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • Nat Glover became EWC's 29th president on February 12, 2011.


Edward Waters athletic teams are known as the Tigers and Lady Tigers. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). The Tigers formerly competed in The Sun Conference, formerly known as the Florida Sun Conference (FSC). For football only, the Tigers participated in The Sun Conference for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and have joined the Mid-South Conference's Sun Division beginning in the 2017 season.[12] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Marching Band

Edward Water's marching band is officially known as the "Triple Threat Marching Band." The band was established in 2001 and has won an invite to the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2009 and 2013. The marching band was also invited to perform at halftime for the Jacksonville Jaguars.[13]

Notable people

Name Class year Notability References
Reggie Brown Jacksonville City Council Representative (Dem-District 10)
Jim "Cannonball" Butler former NFL running back
Samuel Charles 2012 Professional American football wide receiver [14]
Nat Glover current president of Edward Waters and former Sheriff of Jacksonville
Betty Holzendorf former Florida State Representative from Jacksonville [15]
Frederick Douglas Harper author and scholar [16]
Buck O'Neil Attended but did not graduate former Negro League Baseball Player
Rahman Johnson TV personality, actor and former Duval County Commissioner

See also


  1. ^ Davis, Ennis: "Edward Waters College" Metro Jacksonville, May 17, 2010
  2. ^ "President John R. Scott of Edward Waters College and students". State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. 1893. Retrieved 20 February 2018. 
  3. ^ "Edward Waters Loses Accreditation After Plagiarism Scandal". Associated Press. 2004-12-30. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Edward Waters College Loses Accreditation Appeal, Files Lawsuit". Associated Press. 2005-03-24. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Edward Waters College gains a victory in court". Associated Press. 2005-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Edward Waters Reaches Settlement To Keep Accreditation". News4Jax. 2005-06-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. 
  7. ^ "Academic Programs". Edward Waters College. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  9. ^ Guthrie, Ana (2012). "The History of Florida's Four FBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) Libraries". Florida Libraries. 55 (2): 38. 
  10. ^ "Oswald Bronson Named Interim President of Edward Waters College". Associated Press. 2005-02-24. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Dr. Claudette Williams Resigns as President of Edward Waters College". HBCU Digest. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-03-01. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Wilson, Michael (25 February 2016). "Local teams officially join Mid-South football conference". The Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  13. ^ http://www.ewc.edu/index.php/about-us
  14. ^ "Shock Continue Mid-Season Roster Shake Up". www.khq.com. WorldNow and KHQ. May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Mrs. Betty S. Holzendorf". 
  16. ^ "Fredrick Harper". 

Further reading

External links