Above: Middle grades education major Jay Scott is a recipient of the O.M. & Bertie H. Edwards Scholarship.
In 2011, Dr. James B. Edwards ’50, former governor of South Carolina and president of the Medical University of South Carolina, established the O.M. & Bertie H. Edwards Scholarship to honor his parents and their combined 100 years of teaching.
Edwards’ father, O.M. Edwards, who was born in 1888, came from humble beginnings and was the first person in his rural Kentucky county to attend college. But, when he left home for the first time and walked 120 miles to the University of Kentucky with $3 in his pocket, he knew that education was going to take him far.
And so it did: Not only did he become the principal of a school in Florida, but also the town mayor. Education also led him to his wife, Bertie Ray, who was a fifth-grade teacher at his school. Together, the Edwards dedicated their lives to teaching – eventually landing in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where they taught at several schools over the years.
With the O.M. & Bertie H. Edwards Scholarship, that legacy lives on: Intended for students pursuing a career in education, the endowed scholarship allows the Edwards’ to continue making a positive difference for future educators and their students.
One of those future educators is Jay Scott, who was inspired to become an educator by his mother, a fifth-grade teacher in Columbia, South Carolina.
“The O.M. & Bertie H. Edwards Scholarship has allowed me to comfortably excel and achieve my goals without having to constantly worry about funding for my education,” says Scott. “It has created a positive web of connections for me as a middle grades education major through the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the Call Me MISTER Program and Teaching Fellows.”