About Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College is a private, historically black college whose future is lined with pride, growth, and success. Edward Waters College, the oldest private institution of higher education in the state of Florida, was founded in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed slaves.
Celebrating 144 years of service, Edward Waters College was initially named "Brown Theological Institute" by Rev. William G. Steward, the first AME pastor in the state. The school experienced some financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883, the school reopened under the name of "East Florida Conference High School” and later, “East Florida Scientific and Divinity High School”. Within a decade, the educational program was extended and the school’s name was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the third bishop of the AME church. Through the years, the College has withstood the test. After being destroyed by fire in 1901, the College acquired the current site in 1904 and began to rebuild. The school was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 under President William B. Stewart, and by 1960 the College had restored its four-year curriculum. In 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the College as a four-year institution and the College remains accredited by SACS.
Located on the Kings Road corridor, in close proximity to downtown Jacksonville, FL, Edward Waters College continues to build upon its solid foundation of teaching, research, and community outreach. The College’s current enrollment is 839 students, with approximately 51% of the student body is male, 49% female, and over 90% of the students rely on financial aid. The College has also expanded its land and continues to experience positive growth. EWC was highlighted in The Florida Leader Magazine "The Best of Florida Schools 2004" as having the "Biggest Growth for Private Colleges". The Music and Fine Arts Department was also featured as the "Best Music for Private Colleges" which highlighted the world renowned EWC Choir and the Triple Threat Marching Band.
Football returned in 2001 after a 34-year absence with the program becoming a championship team. The Tigers were named 2004 SEAC Champions. Along with football, the marching band returned. The Triple Threat Marching Band has continued to make waves and has performed during halftime for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Purple Thunder Dance Squad, the group of plus-sized ladies who perform with the band, was highlighted in "The Best of Florida Schools 2005" as the "Best Non-Traditional Dance Squad". The Lady Tigers Basketball Team claimed its second EIAC Championship in 2005 as well as the Tigers Volleyball Team. The Baseball and Softball teams also clinched the 2005 EIAC Region 14 Championship.
Today the College stands as a beacon of hope for many young people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to enter higher education. Edward Waters College prepares students for careers in teaching, technology, research, religion, politics, and other leading fields of today and in the future. Edward Waters College is moving forward!