05th Sep2011

Shelia Williams – Edward Waters College

by Staff

“Let nothing stop you from achieving your dreams. Don’t let someone else’s circumstance hinder you from greatness. ….never forget where we came from, reach back and help another, but above all, become a productive viable citizen.”

C/O 1981

Major: Sociology 

How did you decide to become a student at Edward Waters College?

It was time to make a change for the better.

What professors at Edward Waters College left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Dr. Hightower, Psychology Professor; Mrs. Gaither, Sociology; the late Dr. Umana, Velma Bannerman (“The first African American teacher, Velma King Bannerman, was hired by the Reading school district in 1957.” Nubian Queen Velma Bannerman’s soul lives forever through those she taught she has now joined the ancestors). Each one of these teachers shared life and academic skills unmatached in my life. Dr. Hightower bestowed the skilled of knowing and understanding that knowledge.

Along with Mrs. Gaither and others listed, they taught me to soar. Mrs. Bannerman saw a vision in me and today I thank her for introducingDelta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to me. Without her there would be no Omicron Beta Chapter at our school. Collectively, these role models continue to influence my life in every way. That is the way it’s done at “E-Dub”, nurture, teach, guide, engage, explore, soar. But, never forget where we came from, reach back and help another, but above all, become a productive viable citizen.

What is the story of your “experience” at Edward Waters College given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious HBCU?

Same as above

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

Hit the SUB. We were adult students also, so, we had our own places. Club Stepping Out, Jazzco, you know!

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

Jenkins BBQ, period.


The Proud Men that make Jenkins Quality Bar-B-Que a Success! ; Image Courtesy of Jenkins Quality Barbeque

What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

Go Tigers Go!

Who was your College crush?

Roland Banks

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

Came to school and got to work.

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

I chose Sociology because it was relevant to my life. For over 35 years this major has served me well in many professional settings. (There is an Annual Conference held by the Association Of Black Sociologists if you are interested)

What has been your proudest moment @ Edward Waters College?

I would be remiss if I did not mention several: When the school received full accreditation; when I became a Senator in the SGA; when I was crowned Miss Senior and last but not least; when we chartered our chapter for our sorority, and of course graduating.

What was your saddest moment @ Edward Waters College?

My saddest moment was when we learned of the death of Dr. Umana. He is missed.

What did you pledge? And why? And if not, why not?

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I pledged because of the great works the women before me had accomplished and what the organization was doing in the community. We are the first undergraduatechapter of DST in Jacksonville, Fl. Omicron Beta Chapter. We had the distinct pleasure of having a beloved founder W.C.Alexander at our ceremony and it was her birthday. Need I say more!!! (lol)

How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

On campus I was active in the Student Government Association, Delta Sigma Theta, honor student, and evening student organization.

Where was the “yard” located?


What and where were the historical places on campus?

Centennial Library, Tookes Library, Admin Building, Salter Hall


Centennial Hall on "E-Dub"'s Campus | Image Courtesy of Blackpast.Org


Tookes Library on Edward Water's College Campus

Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?


How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)


If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

Thank you for the foundation and guidance.

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

I discovered passion for and in life when attending Dr. Hightowers lectures, it made so much sense. His teachings put it all together for me. All I had to do was go live it.

Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

Dare to be different. I heard past Jaguar Head Coach, Tom Coughlin say, “Respect all, Fear None”.

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?

Let nothing stop you from achieving your dreams. Don’t let someone else’s circumstance hinder you from greatness. You can do all things with the help of He that is Greater.

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Graduate of an HBCU and true believer in HBCUs being the best at giving a well-rounded education academically and personally.




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