Professor Emeritus Paul Edwards, PhD, passed away on October 13, 2022.
Edwards was born on February 26, 1933, in Independence, Mo. He graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1950. Two years after graduating, Edwards enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Korea during the Korean War. In addition to his military service, Edwards attended Washburn University, the University of South Dakota, and St. Andrews University in Scotland, where he would earn his Ph.D. in philosophy.
Edwards served in various faculty and administrative roles at several universities, with long-term tenure as a Professor of History and Philosophy at Graceland from 1960-1978. His time at Graceland would continue as he served as Dean of Faculty from 1978-1982 and on the Board of Trustees from 1986-1992. His time and dedication to Graceland would earn him Professor Emeritus status, the Distinguished Service Award in 2003, and a Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree in 2008.
Edwards served as President of the Mormon History Association and the John Whitmer Historical Association and was the Director of the Community of Christ Temple School in Independence, Missouri. He would later lead a new Master of Arts in Religion program at Park University, which ultimately became a part of the Community of Christ Seminary taught at the Graceland University Independence Campus.
As an educator, philosopher, and historian, Edwards loved teaching and he loved his students, many of whom became lifelong friends. His other passion was writing. He authored published and unpublished works in the thousands – books, articles, and essays; works of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama. Of particular significance to Graceland was the publishing of, ‘The Hilltop Where… An Informal History of Graceland College’ (1972, Venture Foundation), written in commemoration of the college’s 75th anniversary. Other works reference the history of the RLDS church, a biography of Fred M. Smith, a fictional murder mystery series, and numerous books regarding the Korean War. In addition to authoring books on the war, Edwards founded the Center for the Study of the Korean War, where he would remain involved throughout the duration of his life.
Greg Sutherland ’81, Former Graceland Vice President for Enrollment Management said, “Paul Edwards inspired me and an entire generation of Graceland students to think about how we fit into the puzzle of existence. He had a way of affirming while challenging and, like each person he came into contact with, I was always certain that I was special to him.”