J. Ollie Edmunds

J Ollie Edmunds

J. Ollie Edmunds was associated with Stetson University for 60 years, from 1921 when he enrolled as an undergraduate student until the day he retired as chancellor. He served Stetson for more than 50 years in the capacities of trustee, president and chancellor. As a student, he worked his way through Stetson and remained active in campus organizations. He was president of his sophomore and senior classes, president of the campus YMCA, a member of the debate team, Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, Glee Club and the Torch and Scroll honorary society. He often took leading roles in campus plays at Stover Theatre, including Shakespearean productions. He was editor of the yearbook and business manager of the student newspaper. He received a bachelor's degree in 1925, a master's degree in 1927 and a law degree in 1928, all from Stetson. In 1943, his alma mater presented him with the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.

Dr. Edmunds was elected to Stetson's Board of Trustees in 1934, helped organize Stetson's National Alumni Association and served three terms as its president. He was a judge in Duval County in Jacksonville. In 1947, he left his probate law practice to become Stetson's fourth president. His 19-year tenure as president rejuvenated the university. He hired new faculty, raised academic standards, enlarged the campus from 33 to 80 acres, raised $18.4 million and built 16 new buildings. A national leader in higher education, he served as president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Beloved by faculty and students, President Edmunds was highly respected on campus, in the state and across the country.