Don Edwards retired from the presidency of The American Boychoir School in January 2007, after many years of service as trustee, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and President. During his eight years as Vice President and President, the School raised more than 12 million dollars in gifts and grants to support a unique American educational and cultural institution – a fully-accredited residential middle school for 80 boys in grades four through eight who make up the nation’s pre-eminent boychoir. Each year the Choir won a Citation of Excellence from the NJ State Council on the Arts and was designated as a Major Arts Institution in New Jersey.
Edwards’ work in arts education followed a long career at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey during which he helped to move Rutgers into the front rank of American universities. After serving as Associate Dean of Livingston College and Executive Assistant to the President, he became Vice President for Public Affairs & Development in 1976. In 1993, he was named Vice President for Government Relations and developed major new government relations initiatives in the state and national capitals.
At Rutgers, Edwards forged a loose collection of university relations departments – public information, government and community affairs, alumni relations, and fund raising – into an enterprising public affairs team that remade the image of the University and won 12 gold medals from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Edwards served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and chaired its Council on University Relations and Development and its Task Force on State Relations.
Edwards’s volunteer activities have included service as Senior Warden of Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton and as People’s Warden of Christ Church, New Brunswick. He was President of Cranbury Housing Associates, a non-profit low-income housing corporation; a charter board member of Elijah’s Promise, Inc., which operates a major feeding program for the poor in New Brunswick; and a cyclist from 1990 to 1996 in the annual Anchor House Ride-for-Runaways, a 500-mile cycling fund raiser for a Trenton shelter serving runaway and abused children. He was a long-time trustee of the Procter Foundation, which supports Episcopal campus ministries at Princeton and Rutgers, and a member of the Development Council of the Rutgers University Press.
After graduating from Yale, Edwards did graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary and Rutgers before becoming director of intern programs in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Two years later, he came to Rutgers to help establish Livingston College and shape its multi-racial, urban affairs mission.