Million-Dollar Alumni: Dr. D.M. Edwards wins Philanthropist of the Year

by Sophia Alejandro | February 3, 2020

Dr. D.M. Edwards has been consecutively donating to Baylor longer than some current students’ parents were alive.

Since 1974, Edwards’ scholarships have totaled over $1 million to help students in various fields — athletes, legacies, library interns, the school of music, nursing and students from Smith County. Fittingly, he was named Philanthropist of the Year.

CEO of Edward’s Investments in Tyler, Texas, Edwards is more than just a successful businessman. He is a family man, a sports fan, a Baylor supporter and a storyteller. He has a story for almost anything and can keep a conversation going without lulls. He has a vast network of people surrounding him and connections to last a lifetime.

“He will tell you that his ability to make such connections is a trait he inherited from his father, Webly Edwards,” Robert Martin from TylerToday said. “From his mother, Davida Edwards, he learned compassion and to look beyond the public façade people presented to avoid making judgement and instead attempt to understand why people behaved as they do and said the things they did.”

Using his compassion and understanding of people, Edwards has become a generous philanthropist to not only Baylor, but the University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler University and East Texas Baptist University.

“Judge McCall used to say ‘None of us can do everything, but each of us can do something.’ So I just try to help wherever I can,” Edwards said, quoting Judge Abner McCall, President of Baylor from 1961-1981.

Edwards was voted Philanthropist of the Year by the Northeast Texas Chapter of the East Texas Association of Fundraising professionals. They choose one person or family annually to be honored as Philanthropist of the Year in the Northeast Texas region.   

Through donation after donation, including his most recent endowed scholarship to the Baylor School of Music, Edwards proves his generosity through scholarships of all kinds. 

Edwards graduated from Baylor in 1976 from Hankamer School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a double major in management and marketing with a finance minor. While a loyal Baylor Bear, he also has ties to other Texas universities.

“In the last 25 years, I have been a member of the Board of Trustees at East Texas Baptist University,” Edwards said. “I was recently elected to a new three year turn.”

While he was the board chair at East Texas Baptist, he led the project to bring back their school’s football team. They succeeded in doing so and have been doing well since then. But he is still an avid Baylor sports fan.

Edwards has been a member of the Baylor Bear Foundation since 1974 and has supported student athletic teams through support scholarships.

“I have supported Baylor Athletics through thick and thin,” Edwards said.

Because of all the support Edwards gave to Baylor University, UT Tyler, East Texas Baptist University, Tyler University and the people of Northeast Texas, he has earned the title Philanthropist of the Year.

“What a lot we have to be thankful for,” Edwards said.