Freed-Hardeman University has announced plans to create an endowed chair for the Graduate School of Theology as it begins the new Doctor of Ministry program. It will be named the Dr. Earl Edwards Chair for the Graduate School of Theology.
Edwards began his teaching career at FHU in 1982 after directing and teaching for many years in the Florence Bible School in Italy. He directed Graduate Studies in Bible at FHU from 1989 until 2008 when he retired from full-time work.
“Dr. Edwards’ leadership set in motion FHU’s graduate programs in Bible and sustained their growth for nearly 20 years,” Dr. Mark Blackwelder, Dean of the College of Biblical Studies, said. “His irrepressible passion for ministry and higher education has made an indelible impression on a generation of ministers and academic leaders.
His devotion to the word of God and the work of the Kingdom is unsurpassed. We believe his generous gift will continue to inspire others to follow his example.”
“Earl D. Edwards has given his life to serving others, both as a missionary and minister and as a professor and administrator. His exemplary work ethic, attention to detail and conscientious adherence to biblical authority set a high bar for all his students and colleagues,” Dr. Justin Rogers, Director of the Graduate School of Theology, said. “Having blessed throughout his career, Bro. Earl has determined to bless again, establishing a fund to help continue the work of the Graduate School he helped to build.”
Edwards has committed $500,000 for the chair through current and estate gifts. The Edwards family has a goal of raising a total of $1,000,000 with help from friends and other family members.
Edwards married Gwendolyn Hall in 1953; she passed away in October 1986. He married Lora Majors in January 1988; she died in June 2021. He has two children, Terry (Kim) and Karen (Dan) Drew. He and Lora had 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Unique among Doctor of Ministry programs offered by church of Christ-affiliated colleges, FHU’s proposed degree will be a service-oriented terminal degree in ministry. It does not sacrifice scholarship, but research will be directed in a practical way to help the church. Dissertations will be uploaded to a public resource page, so that church leaders and congregations can benefit from the research.