Jacksonville, FL–Over the last several years, in the broad scope of athletics, Edward Waters College was an afterthought.  Competing in the NAIA and having marginal success, the Tigers were not what many would consider an A-list HBCU. In fact the last winning season the football team had prior to last year’s success was 2004…nearly 20 years ago.

In 2018, the board of trustees of Edward Waters College made a bold move.  They unanimously chose a 37-year-old to lead the school.  While young in age, his experience was just what the doctor ordered for the small AME school on the north side of Jacksonville, Fla. New president Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. came in with experience in the hot key issues for HBCUs which are retention and fundraising.

EWU's 30th President Dr. A Zachary Faison, Jr.
EWU’s 30th President Dr. A Zachary Faison, Jr.

His career is littered with experience from HBCUs, with varied levels of involvement.  He is a graduate of Albany State University, where he attained his undergraduate degree.  He is also a graduate of the University of Georgia where he earned his juris doctorate.  From there he became board certified in the state of Georgia.


His leadership journey started at Mississippi Valley State University, as Chief of Staff and later Vice President for Institutional Advancement and then to Virginia Union University as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and finally to Tuskegee as General Counsel and Vice President for External Affairs before being named President at Edward Waters in 2018.

He came to Edward Waters with a vision…to elevate the university through a combination of solid academic processes and athletics success.

“When we came to the institution in 2018, we began to chart our path comprehensively as an institution,” said Faison.  “From our perspective and conversations with our board and community, we felt we really had a potential niche in utilizing athletics to grow the brand of our institution to increase enrollment; using those revenues to help launch additional academic programs and grow the overall depth and breadth of the institution.”

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