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Dr. Ishmell Edwards signals end of 50-year career at Rust College

Holly Springs, Miss. – Rust College has announced the retirement of Dr. Ishmell Edwards, vice president for college relations and director of athletics, as of June 1, 2021.

Edwards’ retirement caps a higher education career spanning five decades, including leadership as director of student activities, associate dean of students, dean of student affairs and director of development.

“I have been blessed to work at Rust College my entire professional career and for that I am eternally grateful.  I have seen the institution grow and improve tremendously over the years and I am happy to have been a part of that growth,” Edwards said.

“My greatest joy has been working with young men and women, who come from limited educational backgrounds, to become outstanding productive citizens and successful leaders in their community, in business, law, medicine, education, religion, technology, social work and the list goes on.”

Serving as vice president from 1994-2011 and vice president for college relations since 2012, Edwards provided oversight for several key areas, including institutional advancement, fundraising, grants and contracts, alumni Affairs, public relations, institutional research and the intercollegiate athletic programs.

He is credited with helping raise over $30 million for Rust College.

“Rust College has been fortunate to have the leadership and commitment of Dr. Edwards for five decades,” said Rust College President Dr. Ivy R. Taylor.

“His commitment has impacted the lives of thousands of students, faculty and staff and he has served as a pillar of this institution in helping to advance the mission of Rust College.  While he will be greatly missed, we celebrate his contributions and many accomplishments during his time of service. Dr. Edwards is forever a Bearcat in our hearts.

Rust College is making plans to formally celebrate Edwards’ retirement as the June 1, 2021 date approaches.

A native Mississippian, Edwards first arrived at Rust College in 1967 as a freshman student.  He graduated from Rust in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science and immediately began working for Rust College as assistant director of the Physical Plant. He holds  a Master’s and a Doctorate degree (Higher Education Leadership) from the University of Mississippi, where he wrote his dissertation on “The History of Rust College: 1866 – 1967.”

Edwards said the future of Rust College is bright under the leadership of its new president, Dr. Taylor.

“I wish Dr. Taylor and the Rust College administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni continued success as the College transitions into the 21st Century and beyond,” he said.

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