Alfred L. Edwards
May 30, 2008
Alfred L. Edwards, a longtime Western Michigan University trustee and professor emeritus of business administration at the University of Michigan, died Jan. 26. He was 86.
Edwards served on the WMU Board of Trustees for 16 years, starting in 1981. The board granted him the title of trustee emeritus in 1997 in recognition of his service.
The resolution recommending him for that honor cited his "long, dedicated and faithful service to WMU and to the people of Michigan." It also praised him for serving as board chair four times as well as vice chair and committee chair on numerous occasions, "always with wit and good humor, while providing valued continuity and perspective"
Edwards taught at Southern and Michigan State Universities, then served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of agriculture from 1963 to 1973, receiving the Department of Agriculture's Distinguished Service Award in 1969.
He joined Michigan's Ross School of Business in 1974 as director of research and a professor of economics. During his tenure at Ross, Edwards was a driving force in recruiting and mentoring minority students for more than 30 years.
The World War II veteran also served as director of the LEAD Program in Business, a member of the board of trustees for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and faculty advisor of the Black Business Students Association.
In addition, Edwards sat on the Security Bank Corp. Board of Directors and actively participated in the National Economic Association, for which he served stints as president and secretary-treasurer and had the Alfred Edwards Award for distinguished service to the organization named in his honor.
In 1994, the Ross School community established the Alfred L. Edwards Collegiate Professorship at Michigan. In 2006, the Black Business Alumni Association renamed its annual conference in his honor, and recently, the association raised $100,000 to endow the Alfred L. Edwards Scholarship.
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