Thomas and Anna Calhoun Clemson believed that quality education could change lives. Their endowment was the foundation upon which Clemson University was built. James “Eddie” Edwards ’74 and Patricia “Trish” Creighton Edwards ’75 also know a little bit about the value of education. Their recent gift to the College of Education is based on values learned from their mothers and carried forward through their own careers and into the next generation.
The James M. and Patricia C. Edwards Endowment for Education is being established in memory of their mothers, Margaret Dawes Edwards and Patricia Kenney Creighton, who devoted their lives to teaching. Margaret Dawes Edwards, from Johnston, South Carolina, served her community as a math educator. She considered teaching to be a profession of the very highest calling, affording unlimited opportunity to serve others. Patricia Kenney Creighton, from Charleston, South Carolina, shared her love of teaching that made everyone feel special, greatly impacting the lives of students she taught from Virginia to Aiken, Florence and Charleston, South Carolina.
Although Eddie Edwards earned his Clemson degree in political science, he has spent the past 34 years growing his family-owned construction company, Edcon Inc., into one of the most well-known contractors for schools and athletics facilities in South Carolina. The couple’s two sons, Josh ’01 and Chase, work in the business. While her husband and sons have been out building schools, Trish Edwards has spent her career inside them, carrying on the family tradition as an educator. Not surprisingly, their daughter, Emily Edwards Berry, is also a Clemson graduate and teacher. She is set to finish her Ed.S. in educational leadership at Clemson this summer.
“Their visionary leadership, thoughtfulness and generosity, to support young people, many of whom they will never meet, in becoming high-quality teachers is at the nexus of why Clemson’s Teacher Residency program is so remarkably successful.”
The family’s $500,000 gift will support Clemson’s teacher residency program, a combined degree program across disciplines. The MAT in teacher residency is a 30-credit program that can be completed in three semesters. It consists of a mix of face-to-face and hybrid courses along with an immersive field experience component. Students will be recommended for initial teaching certification after successfully completing their graduate teacher residency field experience.
“Nothing is more important in our state than providing high-quality education for our children,” said George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education. “The Edwards family’s gift says to other people, ‘We understand this and are willing to invest because we recognize the significant impact on the quality and retention of high-caliber teachers.’
Their visionary leadership, thoughtfulness and generosity, to support young people, many of whom they will never meet, in becoming high-quality teachers is at the nexus of why Clemson’s Teacher Residency program is so remarkably successful.”
Trish and Eddie Edwards were recently named the 2022 Distinguished Friend of the College of Education. The formal celebration will be held at the college’s annual awards event later this year.