Coastal names College of Humanities and Fine Arts
The $16.4 million, 110,000-square-foot Edwards Building will be the largest structure on campus. The facility will include classrooms and faculty offices, an art gallery, recital hall and an experimental or "black box" theater which will be called the Edwards Theater.
Thomas Williams Edwards was associated with Williams Furniture Corporation of Sumter for 32 years until he retired in 1982. He graduated from Conway High School in 1941 and attended Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga. He had a distinguished military career during World War II as a U.S. Army infantryman with the 30th Division. He is a charter member of the Conway Rotary Club, a member of the Huntington Society of Brookgreen Gardens and an honorary life member of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. He is the recipient of a Presidential Merit Award from the Medical University of South Carolina. He served on the board of directors of Williams Furniture Corporation, the Southern Coatings and Chemical Company of Sumter, and was a member of the Lions Club of Sumter.
In March 2000, Coastal named Edwards an honorary founder of the university, joining 58 others who have had instrumental roles in the development of Coastal and the promotion of higher education in the region.
Thomas Williams Edwards and his brother Philip L. Edwards were instrumental in establishing, on behalf of their aunt Martha Williams Brice, the Williams-Brice Physical Education Center on the Coastal campus as well as the University of South Carolina's football stadium and nursing school.
Robin Williamson Edwards was born and raised in Conway and graduated from Conway High School in 1955. She studied English at Limestone College and the College of William and Mary. She has a strong interest in the arts and theater, and has earned 38 titles in national and regional pageants. She has been active with the Grand Strand Auxiliary, Friends of Brookgreen Gardens and the Huntington Society of Brookgreen Gardens.
The Edwards have three children and six grandchildren.
"I have been impressed with Coastal since the early days of the college. The possibilities for Coastal are unlimited; we are proud to be a part of this journey," said Thomas Edwards.
Robin Edwards added, "We are especially proud to associate our name with a university that began rather humbly in Conway and is poised today to lead the region and state in providing outstanding arts and theater opportunities for students and for our community."