History of Edward Waters College

​​​​Alma Mater

​In the town of Jacksonville,

stands our college dear.
Where our founding fathers,

planned for future years.
Strove to educate our youth

and inspire our lives.
Edward Waters hail to thee,

may you never die.

Dear old Edward Waters,

you're the world to me.
Dear old Edward Waters,

you will always be
A guide to lead me onward,

everywhere I go.
I'm always thinking of you

as I move about your halls.
I'll still be thinking of you

when I leave these sacred walls
Dear old Edward Waters,

you're the world to me.

​Our Mission
The mission of the Edward Waters College National Alumni Association is to foster and enhance the relationship between Edward Waters College, its Alumni and friends and to support the Colleges mission as it seeks to develop excellence in scholarship, research and service for the
betterment of humanity

Edward Waters College (EWC) is, distinctively, Florida's oldest independent institution of higher learning as well as the state's first institution established for the education of African Americans.

Edward Waters College began as an institution founded by blacks, for blacks. In 1865, following the Civil War, the Reverend Charles H. Pearce, a presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was sent to Florida by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. Observing the fast-paced social and political changes of the Reconstruction era, Rev. Pearce immediately recognized the need for an education ministry, as no provision had yet been made for the public education of Florida's newly emancipated blacks. Assisted by the Reverend William G. Steward, the first AME pastor in the state, Pearce began to raise funds to build a school.

This school, established in 1866, was to eventually evolve into Edward Waters College. From the beginning, EWC was faced with both abject poverty and widespread illiteracy among its constituents resulting from pre-war conditions of servitude and historical, legally enforced non-schooling of African Americans. However, the school met the needs of its community by offering courses at the elementary, high school, college, and seminary levels. Construction of the first building began in October 1872 on ten acres of land in Live Oak. Further support for this new educational institution came from numerous friends, including railroad magnate General M.S. Littlefield, state Treasurer Simon Conaber, and Lieutenant General William Gleason.

In 1892 the school's name was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the third Bishop of the AME Church.

In 1901 the City of Jacksonville was destroyed by fire and Edward Waters College was reduced to ashes. In 1904 the Board of Trustees purchased the present site of the school on Kings Road with the imperative from Bishop M.B. Salter that Edward Waters College must be rebuilt.

Under the continued visionary leadership and direction of great Bishops of the AME Church and twenty-eight focused presidents, Edward Waters College was indeed "rebuilt." In February 2011 the Edward Waters College Board of Trustees appointed Jacksonville native and alumnus Mr. Nathaniel Glover as President. As the 29th president, Glover continues the work of his predecessors by focusing on training students to be successful in the 21st century global economy and ensuring that they matriculate in a safe environment.

With a history beginning in the dark yet hopeful days of Reconstruction, today's Edward Waters College is living, thriving proof of the power of education and the resilience of deeply rooted educational institutions. The College continues to experience the triumphs and challenges characteristic of its rich history and the bold dynamic future to which it aims.

Alumni Chapter Directory

  • Jacksonville Alumni - Malachi Beyah, President 
  • Polk County Alumni  - LeRoy Smith, President
  • Tallahassee Alumni - Cecil Hicks, President
  • GATA Alumni - Rev. Patricia Wallace, President
  • Tri County Alumni - Yolanda Jones, President
  • Washington DC Metro Alumni - Dayna Kent, President
  • Chicago Metro Alumni - Catherine Gillard, President
  • Atlanta Metro Alumni - Jarvis T. Adams, President
  • If there is no chapter listed in your area, we can use your help to start one.  Do you know five Alums in your city, or town?  If so, let us know!
  • Email us: info@ewctigernation.com​
  • Anita L. Walton - Director of Development and Alumni Affairs - 
    Office of Institutional Advancement - Edward Waters College - (904).470.8252

Edward Waters College National Alumni Association

P.O. 40792 Jacksonville, Florida 32203

  • Lillie Vereen - National President
  • Johnny Kirby - Vice President
  • Jackie Nash - Recording Secretary
  • Marguerite Warren - Treasurer
  • Linda Sue Holmes - Financial Secretary
  • Melva Harris-Rozier - District Director
  • Eric Daniel Johnson - Public Relations Director
  • LeRoy Smith - Parliamentarian
  • Carrie DeJournett - Chaplin
  • Shelia Williams, Immediate Past President 2015-2017
  • Eric Daniel Johnson - Past President 2011-2015​​
  • Marguerite Warren - Past President 2007-2011

Email us:  info@ewctigernation.com

Our National Officers 2017-2019