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Hazel Ruth Edwards Continues to Build on her Family's HBCU Legacy as Howard's First Woman Architecture Chair

Hazel Ruth Edwards Continues to Build on her Family's HBCU Legacy as Howard's First Woman Architecture Chair

 Photo via: Howard University 

Hazel Ruth Edwards made history in 2016 when she became the first woman to chair Howard University's Department of Architecture in the College of Engineering and Architecture.

With her historic appointment, Edwards continued a family legacy of higher education leadership as her mother, Cecile H. Edwards, was once the dean of the School of Human Ecology, the School of Continuing Education, as well as the interim dean of the new School of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences.

"Since I joined the faculty in 2016, I am reminded on almost a weekly basis of the indelible impact my mother had on this university. She was a tremendous role model for me and I am guided in my current role by the manner in which she touched so many lives." 

 Photo via: Howard University

As a third generation Howard graduate, Edwards received a bachelor of architecture degree from the historically Black college and went on to attend Harvard University to obtain a master of architecture in urban design. Edward also received a doctorate of philosophy in regional planning from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before returning to her undergraduate alma mater as chairperson of architecture Edwards returned as a member of the school's planning and development team, serving as principal designer for campus projects such as: Founders Walk, crime mapping system, and a shuttle circulation plan. 

"My familial connection to HBCUs has also been strong: both of my parents taught at Tuskegee Institute and NC A&T State University; my paternal grandmother taught at North Carolina Central University; and my paternal grandfather taught and was the resident architect for Shaw University before becoming president of Kittrell College, Howard Newsroom reports Edwards saying. "My grandfather was also the first Negro architect to be licensed to practice architecture in the State of North Carolina. In one way or another, they prepared me for the roles I have had at Howard. I am grateful for the examples they set."

With extensive experience in research and grantsmanship, Edwards said: "I'm very fortunate to have had educators in my family who demonstrated a strong work ethic and commitment to others." 

Talk about paving the way! 

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