Howard Edwards was the University’s longest-serving president. During his 24-year tenure, what was then the Rhode Island College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts was renamed Rhode Island College.
President Edwards fostered the URI’s growth from what once was a tiny agricultural school into a full-fledged college. For example, President Edwards opened the educational opportunities for women by first developing the College’s program in Home Economics, oversaw establishment of ROTC on campus, and he continually promoted advancements in curriculum and programs. Enrollment doubled during Edwards’ tenure and Ranger, Washburn, Bliss, Edwards, Rodman, and Lippitt Halls were built.
Prior to joining the college, President Edwards had been professor of English and modern languages at Michigan Agricultural College, and had taught at the University of Arkansas, and at an Academy in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Earlier he was a teacher and professor at the Bingham School in North Carolina and the Bethal Military Academy.
He received degrees at the Michigan State College, Brown University, and the University of Arkansas.