Jacksonville, FL – Edward Waters University, the state of Florida’s first independent institution of higher learning and first Historically Black College or University (HBCU), recently welcomed three new members to its Board of Trustees. The new members are: Mr. Michael J. Ward, Former Chairman and CEO of CSX Corporation; Reverend Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, Former President of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) and Christian Theological Seminary (CTS); and EWU alumnus Mr. Phillip Zoller ‘03, Vice President of Talent Management at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. (Florida Blue).

“We are pleased to announce the addition of these three accomplished leaders and influencers in the business, community, education, and healthcare sectors,” said EWU President & CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. “They will help to further enhance the strong capacity of our existing board and continue propelling Edward Waters University in its forward-moving trajectory as a destination institution of emerging eminence.”

Mr. Ward served as the chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corporation, one of the nation’s premier transportation and logistics companies, leading it to record safety performances, outstanding customer service, and strong financial results. He ranked 26th in generating the best return for shareholders and the environment in Harvard Business Review’s November 2016 ranking of The Best Performing CEOs in the World.

A long-time supporter of Edward Waters, Mr. Ward and his wife Ms. Jennifer Glock recently made a signature investment in support of EWU by partnering with the institution to make the largest ever private donation to the university’s endowment ($2.5 million dollars) late last year during President Faison’s investiture ceremony.

“I am extremely excited to join the esteemed Edward Waters University Board of Trustees and look forward to helping this fine institution continue to grow and progress,” said Ward, a Baltimore, MD native, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School.

Reverend Dr. Edward L. Wheeler, an ordained Baptist minister, has been president of both the Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) in Indianapolis, IN, and the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA.

“I have been blessed by many persons and institutions over my life,” Dr. Wheeler said. “I cannot repay the investments that I have received, but I am excited to be on the Edward Waters University Board of Trustees because it will enable me to continue to make payments on the interest I owe on my debt.  EWU is a vibrant, dynamic, forward-thinking institution and I hope that I can contribute to its continued success.”

His board service includes several civic, professional, and faith-based boards including the Board of Directors of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the U.S. and Canada, as Vice Chair of the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Intra Baptist Relations, and as a member of the joint commission authorized by ATS and the Association of Hispanic Theological Education to strengthen Hispanic Bible Institutes. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College, a Master of Divinity from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Theology from Emory University.

Mr. Philip Zoller ’03 is Vice President of Talent Management for Florida Blue, where he oversees talent acquisition, functional and operational training, succession planning, employee development, and leadership and executive development for the company. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration & Management from Edward Waters College, and a Master of Science in Instructional Systems from Florida State University.

“As the great Maya Angelou once stated, ‘when you learn, teach, and when you get, give,’” he said. “Edward Waters University not only changed my life, but the life of my family by providing a pathway for me to be the first in the history of my family to earn a college degree through the CLIMB Program. I am immensely grateful to EWU for changing my trajectory and its with great honor that I can ‘give’ back to EWU as a Trustee.” Zoller said.

“The vast cogent experiences, expertise, and propensity for bringing expanded resources to our institution combine to demonstrate a tremendous value add in the form of these new members to our board,” said President Faison. “I look forward to the contributions that each of our new board members will make in helping us redefine success in innovative ways while honoring our rich and proud traditions.”



New EWU Trustees Ward, Wheeler, and Zoller join an existing cadre of trustees who have admirably served the institution through their dedicated commitment of time, talent, and treasure, including: Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III (Chairman), Dr. Freddie Groomes- McLendon (First Vice Chair), Mrs. Demetria Merritt-Bell (Board Secretary), Reverend Dr. Victor Cole, Dr. Rosa Simmons, Reverend Dr. R.B. Holmes, Mrs. Pamela Prier, Mr. Charles Spencer, Presiding Elder Elizabeth E. Yates, Mr. Malachi Beyah (EWU National Alumni Association President), Ms. Patricia Johnson (EWU Student Government Association President), Reverend Henry E. Green, Reverend Dr. Julius K. McAllister, Jr., Ms. Sanjena V. Clay, Reverend Ronnie Clark, Reverend Clifton Riley and Reverend Clarence Williams.


Edward Waters University is a Christian Black, urban liberal arts institution offering quality and vibrant academic programs.  The University strives to prepare students holistically to advance in a global society through the provision of intellectually stimulating programs, and an environment that emphasizes moral and spiritual values in keeping with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Edward Waters University seeks to develop excellence in scholarship, research, and service for the betterment of humanity.