You may still know or think of him as a former Jacksonville sheriff, but Edward Waters College President Nat Glover is now a finalist for Best Male President of a Historically Black College or University, HBCU for short.
Nominees were selected based on their impact and achievement in the fields of leadership, arts, athletics, research and community engagement. His nomination comes a time where many of the 106 HBCU's across the country are struggling to keep funding and enrollment up.
As an Edward Waters College alumnus, Nathaniel Glover says he experienced firsthand the power and value of an Edward Waters education. After he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from EWC in 1966, he says his education opened the door to his law enforcement career with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. In 1995, Glover was elected Sheriff of Jacksonville, and became the first African-American sheriff Jacksonville had seen in more than 100 years.
"I think when you come from another profession into the education field particularly as a president it kind of gives you a level of creditability," Glover says. "It makes you really feel good."
The nominations were submitted and reviewed by a host of individuals close to the HBCU community including students, alumni, PR officials and journalists covering historically black colleges and universities. Votes are counted in each category via secret ballot of 13 HBCU presidents and the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy board members.
"I think when you talk about having someone look at you and say you know this person is performing at a level above the class it's something that's very important," Glover says. "And no matter what profession you are in when people see you as a part of that class and think that you're doing it above the class it's very very important."
EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the oldest private institution of higher education in the state of Florida and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges, and Schools and member of the United Negro College Fund
Glover says despite the nomination he is still working to address the colleges challenges.
"With 98, 99 percent of my students on financial aid, my challenge is keeping them in school, pulling together resources so that they will have the resources to finish their education," Glover says. "And too often I see young people having to go home because of debt and it hurts me so I'm working har d to solve that problem."
The HBCU awards, presented by national news website HBCU Digest, is designed to celebrate the achievements of historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States. Organizers say it is the first and only event to recognize the influence and impact of HBCUs on American culture.
"It brings attention to Edward Waters College," Glover says. "There are 106 HBCU's and there are young people out there who want to attend an HBCU. To have a president that's being recognized and the word out about Edward Waters College, it helps."
The winners in various categories will be announced at the HBCU Digest's HBCU Awards event set for July 12 at Dillard University in New Orleans. Click for more on the nominees.