(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Jimmie Edwards, a 1970 graduate of Dillard University recently donated $1 million to his alma mater to establish an endowed scholarship for deserving students. This is one of the largest single contributions ever given by an alumnus and it establishes the largest endowed scholarship in Dillard’s history.
“I received a full scholarship in 1966 and without that I would not have been able to go to college,” Edwards said. “I felt like I owed Dillard a repayment for their investment because it gave me an opportunity to have a different life,” he added.
“Mr. Edwards’ enthusiasm for making this gift is amazing,” said Marc Barnes, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We are inspired, not only by his tremendous generosity, but also by his incredible desire to pay forward the assistance that he received as a student at Dillard,” Barnes noted. “Edwards is truly a great example of the Dillard Difference.”
The eldest of five, Edwards recalled that his family was extremely poor and there was no way he would have been able to go to school without a full scholarship. Edwards says he always wanted to make a substantial gift to Dillard and when he saw a story about an alumnus who had given a million dollars to an HBCU he was inspired to do the same. “I’m just giving back and repaying Dillard for their investment,” he said.
Edwards pointed out that Dillard is an institution where many of its students are on financial aid and that the investment being made in them should be repaid once they have an opportunity to give back. With that said, he is challenging alumni to give and collectively match what he has given.
After graduating from Dillard with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Edwards worked as a research chemist in Akron, Ohio. While working full time as a chemist he also attended Kent State University where he obtained his MBA in 1974. He later joined the sales and marketing team at Amoco in Atlanta. He remained with the company through a succession of corporate changes, as Amoco became BP, then INESO, a $54 billion international petrochemical company. He retired in 2008 after nearly 40 years in the industry.
Edwards is currently employed during the summer season as a customer service agent with Delta airlines in Charlotte, N.C.