“We must make sure that the doors that were open for us do not become closed for others.”
– Dr. A. L. Edwards
The late Dr. Alfred L. Edwards was a Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business whose career spanned over 40 years. Affectionately known as “Dr. E,” Edwards served as a dedicated mentor to Ross’ Black business students and was the driving force behind the school’s participation in the Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management (CGSM), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing diversity in business education and leadership by helping to reduce the serious underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in both its member schools’ enrollment and the ranks of management.
Edwards attended Livingstone College in North Carolina, later earning an MA in economics from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the business school faculty in 1974, he taught at Southern University, and later moved to Michigan State University, where he was an integral member of the faculty team that established the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 1963, Edwards was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture by President John F. Kennedy, a position he held for 10 years. While there, he earned the department’s Distinguished Service Award.
Although his career at Ross (then known as the University Of Michigan School Of Business) began as a director of research and professor of economics, his involvement with students eventually grew into much more. Black Michigan business students regularly sought advice from Edwards about academic and career concerns, and his office became known as a popular informal gathering spot for students. His active involvement in the recruiting process saw the number of black MBA students attending Ross grow tremendously.
Edwards passed away in early 2007, but his impact and leadership on the Ross community and beyond will forever be felt.