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Dr. Faith Waters and Reverend Edward Kimes

Dr. Faith Waters and Reverend Edward Kimes

Dr. Faith Waters and Reverend Edward Kimes strive to better the lives of those less fortunate
By Susan Field

Throughout their lives, Dr. Faith Waters and her husband, Reverend Edward Kimes, have been dedicated to giving back to the younger generation.

In her 38-year tenure at East Stroudsburg University, Waters was a secondary education graduate program coordinator, department chair, professor emeritus, and distinguished faculty member. Kimes was pastor at the United Methodist Church in Effort for 12 years and at East Stroudsburg United Methodist for 15. Both strongly believe in the importance of education: the opportunity to experience higher education without struggling to pay it back and being generous with those in need.

When Waters and Kimes were considering ways to give back to ESU, creating scholarships to help students pay for their education was an easy decision.

"Many people struggle with paying back their education debts, and it affects their entire lives. We want to help students have either no debt, or at least manageable debt, so it doesn't hold them back," Waters said.

In May 2021, the couple established the Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship and the Waters-Kimes Endowed Scholarship. Both scholarships assist members of the Women's basketball team. They also placed ESU in their will.

The decision to support members of the Women's basketball team came from a desire to help women of color have more equity, and Waters and Kimes both love basketball. They grew up in the greater Philadelphia area as avid sports fans, and Waters briefly coached basketball early in her career as a public school teacher.

The first Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship recipient was #21, guard Carley Adams, a sophomore psychology major. Waters and Kimes have gone to watch her play and had the opportunity to meet and get to know her.

Kimes' years in ministry have given him a unique perspective on the power of giving.

"When I'd give eulogies, I could see how someone's life lived on through their giving nature. I could see the tremendous impact that giving had beyond their years. When Faith and I talk about what we want our legacy to be, we want to continue to give back to causes that are important to us. We want to continue to make an impact," Kimes said.

When Waters and Kimes told their four children about the charitable bequests in their will for ESU, their children were in full support.

"Maybe that is our legacy-that our children believe that life isn't just about them; it's about the larger world where people need help, and you give it," Waters said.

Waters' impact on the field of education, goes beyond her charitable donations.

Waters holds a B.S. from Bucknell University, an M.Ed. in English education from Trenton State College, her K-12 supervisory certificates from Villanova University, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She began her career as an English teacher in Hatboro-Horsham High School. She then served as assistant principal at Springfield High School, director of Secondary Instruction for the Central Bucks School District, and principal of Pocono Mountain Senior High School.

In the 1980s, when Waters was an administrator, female secondary principals were unusual. When she joined ESU's Secondary Education Department in 1989 to teach in the graduate department of Educational Administration, she relished the opportunity to teach future administrators and empower other women in the field.

Waters' contributions to ESU are significant. She co-founded the Center for Teaching and Learning and served as co-director from 1994-2002. Waters co-authored ESU's comprehensive classroom assessment model, co-founded the PSED professional development school program, and co-chaired the development of the collaborative Educational Leadership doctoral delivery program with Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

She was an active scholar with multiple publications including the application of the Russian problem-solving system, TRIZ, and co-teaching in the university classroom.

Waters taught 19 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses throughout her tenure. She particularly enjoyed teaching leadership, curriculum, methodology courses, and supervising student teachers.

"At ESU we had really good students who wanted to learn, that wanted to be the best they could be. It was never a case where you had to force kids to learn-they wanted to," Waters said.

Waters retired from ESU in 2008. She remains active with the university as a board member for the Student Activities Association for the last decade. She is also an APSCURF member (The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties), of which she is the former president. She was actively involved in creating the APSCURF Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship assists a graduate student, of any major, who is in good academic and social standing.

"The overall highlight for me at ESU was the spirit that encouraged you to continue to learn and grow and stretch your boundaries. You were accountable to do quality work. Foremost for me was the spirit of collaboration. There was a feeling that if you worked together with people with different skills and gifts, you could do so much more together than you could alone," Waters said.

The spirit of learning, growing, collaborating, and sharing has been central to how Waters and Kimes have spent their retirement.

The couple lived in Long Island City for a year and volunteered for a Non-Government Organization that had a partnership with the United Nations. After that, they traveled across the U.S. 10 times, stopping to volunteer with NGOs. They took time to listen to and learn from the passionate volunteers they met along the way.

"The beauty and grace that comes with retirement is that you have time to listen. You are able to hear people's stories and stay focused on them without having to think about what meeting you have to prepare for next," Waters said.

Last winter, the couple was living on a barrier island on the coast of southeast Georgia, an area that continues to struggle with the implications of its history. They used their time in the south to listen to people's stories about racism, equality, poverty, and struggle.

"We have been on a journey of exploration about our own beliefs and actions and ways we can get more insight into how we can be more inclusive, where we fall short, and how we can be better," Waters said.

When they're not traveling, they reside at Elk Mountain, between Scranton and Binghamton, where their children and seven grandchildren are nearby.

After devoting their lives to fostering academic and spiritual growth, Waters and Kimes understand how gratifying it is to help others achieve their full potential.

"At the end of the day, how much money do you really need in your life?" Waters said. "When you can give back to someone else and make their life better, then you do it."