category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

Dorothy Washburn Hamrick Edwards

Registrar Emerita

Dorothy Washburn Hamrick Edwards

Dorothy Washburn Hamrick Edwards (1916-2006) was born in Cleveland County during the great flood of 1916. Edwards was the fifth of 12 children to Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Washburn. Her grandfather, W.W. Washburn, was a member of the original Board of Trustees of Gardner-Webb University.

Edwards graduated as 
valedictorian from Lattimore (N.C.)
 High School in 1933. She
 attended Boiling Springs Junior 
College (now Gardner-Webb
 University) from 1933 to 1935. Edwards then went to Meredith College, where she earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1937.

Upon graduation, Edwards taught geography, civics, history and English at Number Three High School in Cleveland County, N.C. She married Gordon Shannon Hamrick in 1937 and moved to Charlotte, N.C. where she worked for the U.S. Rubber Company assembling 40-millimeter anti-aircraft shells during World War II. After the war, she worked for the Bubble Company until she and her husband moved to Cleveland County in the fall of 1946. She and Gordan had one son, Philip.

Upon returning to Cleveland County, Edwards began working as secretary to the president, Dr. Philip Lovin Elliott, at Gardner-Webb College in November 1946. Edwards was promoted to the position of acting registrar for the school year of 1947-48 and became Registrar in the fall of 1948.

Her husband Gordan died in March, 1947, and 22 years later she married Talmadge Irvin Edwards in 1969. Talmadge’s father, J.J. Edwards, was a member of the original Board of Trustees of Gardner-Webb. She officially retired in June 1978, and after the death of her husband, she returned to GW to serve as registrar and assistant to the dean of admissions and enrollment at Gardner-Webb. Much of her time was spent on admissions, curriculum and executive committees, in addition to record keeping, registration, interviews and routine office work.

Edwards was involved in many activities and organizations during her education. In high school and college she was a member of the debate team, vice president and president of the Baptist Student Union, editor of the school newspaper, maid of honor for the May Queen in 1935, and member of the Marshall Club and College Honor Society.

Edwards was a member of several professional organizations and received numerous awards, including Gardner-Webb
 Alumna of the Year in 1962 and Distinguished Woman of Cleveland County (N.C.) in 1992.

Edwards continued to be active in her retirement. She served the Boiling Springs Baptist Church as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and leader of Women’s Missionary Union Bible Study Group. She was a supporter of Gardner-Webb from 1933 until her death and worked on a historical background of the University with Gardner-Webb historian Lansford Jolley. She was active on the Gardner-Webb Alumni Board of Directors.

Until 2004, Edwards resided in Boiling Springs and enjoyed homemaking, gardening, mowing grass, and canning in her spare time. Her son, Dr. Philip Edward Hamrick, retired as a senior scientist at the Research Triangle with the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. She had two granddaughters, Eileen Watkins and Ruth, and one grandson, David. She moved to Cary, N.C., to live near her son and his family in 2004. She lived there until her death in 2006. A celebration of her life was held in her home church, Boiling Springs Baptist.

Sources: Personal interview and GWU files

– Richard S. Millwood

  • Updated Noel T. Manning II, August 2022

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