Alumnus Christopher Edwards `95 Establishes Scholarship
Christopher Edwards ’95
“I set up the Fund to give back to Pace, and to honor three people who were instrumental in my life,” says Christopher A. Edwards ‘95.
Edwards established the Edwards, Harvin & Rosenbaum Scholarship Endowed Fund to provide assistance to Pace students who have completed a full year in the Challenge to Achievement (CAP) program and intend to matriculate at the university the following semester, and/or are Dyson students enrolled in the Honors Program. Students also must meet QPA requirements in order to qualify.
Edwards was a CAP student at Pace. “I started out my career as a CAP student. After my first year, I entered the Honors Program. It is difficult to make the adjustment to college generally, and it is more difficult for CAP students. I wanted to reward those students who achieved good QPAs,” says Edwards.
Who are Edwards, Rosenbaum and Harvin?
“Eustace Edwards, Sr. is my father. He was an immigrant from the West Indies who came to America at 19 years old with nothing in his pocket, and worked hard. He started his own business at 30, and successfully oversaw it until he passed at 42. He showed me that anything is possible with hard work, discipline and focus.
“Louise Harvin is my grandmother. She helped take care of all of my brothers and I when my mom and dad were working. She took us to church every Sunday, and was instrumental in giving me my values.”
“Jack Rosenbaum was a close family friend, and an inspiration to me based on his qualities as a man,” says Edwards.
Edwards, who earned a BS in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy, graduated first in his class with a 3.98 QPA. “I love Pace University. I am where I am in large part due to my teachers, many of whom I still stay in contact with,” he adds. In 1998, Edwards graduated from Harvard Law School, and is now an attorney with Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, in Boston.
Edwards’ experiences at Pace
A Bronx native, Edwards has fond memories of his time at Pace. He credits his love of Pace to the wonderful teachers. “They genuinely want their students to succeed. I am still in contact with most of my professors, including Carl Morency and Drs. Geoffrey Brackett, William Offutt, Linda Quest and Donna Johnson. Mentors made all the difference at Pace, and have made all the difference in my professional career.
“Dr. Geoffrey Brackett helped push me towards the honors program. From the first time I met him, Dr. Brackett was able to see my potential and wanted to make sure I received opportunities. He is a great teacher, and an even better mentor.
“Outside of Pace, my father has always been a guiding light for me. He showed me that anything is possible with hard work and focus. My mother and grandmother were important as well, as they showed me the value of treating others with respect. To this day, I speak to my mother every day and rely on her advice. At Choate, Mr. Russell is an African American partner who has taught me the “ins and outs” of being a good lawyer. Choate is an excellent law firm with a hundred year tradition of excellence.
CAP program’s smaller classes and dedicated teachers = student success
Edwards says, “The smaller classes helped because the teachers could quickly learn and evaluate the needs of each student, and the students were more likely to interact with the teachers because of the intimate setting. Smaller classes are not enough. The teachers and administrators in the CAP program were dedicated to seeing each student succeed. We had weekly meetings with our CAP advisors to discuss classes and college life.”
CAP students face challenges
Edwards knows the challenges that CAP students face. He says that simply making the adjustment from high school to college life is difficult for any student. “College life is more demanding than high school, and more competitive. In college, you are likely going to be in a class with several valedictorians. This adjustment is more pronounced for CAP students, who generally have gaps to fill in their educational background (as I did). I had a 73 average during my first three years in high school, and then I raised my average to a 95.6 in my senior year of high school. It was a great accomplishment, but I still had gaps in my education because I was not as serious as I should have been in my first three years. I remember sitting in my basement the summer before Pace, and reading my mother’s college books to get ready for my first semester. Still, I had a lot to catch up on, and CAP allowed me the opportunity to be in smaller classes with teachers who understood that I was a little behind.
A model of success
“Today, I rely on the model of discipline and focus I developed at Pace. Discipline and focus are important, but mentors are just as important. I have a lot of friends who are smarter than me, but they did not have the mentoring. They ended up in difficult places, and/or gave up. I say never give up because my father showed me that anything is possible with hard work.
“Look at me. If someone told me 15 years ago that I would be a Harvard graduate and working for a major law firm, I would not believe it. I make this statement even though I came from a stable household, went to Catholic school all my life, and had a father who owned his own construction business.
“Life is about possibilities,” Edward says. With this scholarship fund, Edwards assists our students as they strive to realize their possibilities.