CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Completing 21 fall semesters, 20 spring semesters, 11 summer semesters, and surviving six strokes barely scratches the surface of James Edmondson’s long history of accomplishments at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. After surviving his most recent stroke in August, Edmondson will walk the stage to receive his 10th consecutive master’s degree, a Master of Science in Reading, at the 2014 Fall Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. in the American Bank Center Arena.
Edmondson, who turned 77 in October, says the only time he missed classes in the last 21 years was when he suffered his fourth stroke in 2009 on Christmas Eve. Side effects of the strokes have made it difficult for Edmondson to get around campus, but the word “quit” is not in his vocabulary.
“The key word that I use is perseverance,” said Edmondson. “You can achieve any goal if you just stay after it.”
Edmondson began attending Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 1993, and during that time, he has earned nine master’s degrees. He has received degrees in Public Administration, Education Administration, Counseling, and Special Education, to name a few. In all, he has 13 degrees, including nine degrees in education from the Island University. Prior to attending Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Edmondson earned an associate’s degree, two bachelor’s degrees, and a master’s degree in Economics in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He says that the rigorous academic challenges have helped to keep his brain sharp.
“Thank goodness that the six strokes have not damaged my brain,” said Edmondson. “Because I intend to continue going to school until I die.”
For the past 20 years, Edmondson has worked as the Mathis Housing Authority Executive Director. For two decades, he has been working with a staff of five to provide Housing and Urban Development assisted housing to 192 families in Mathis, Texas. Edmondson’s co-workers and his two children are his primary support system.
After Saturday’s commencement, Edmondson will have successfully earned every master’s degree offered within the College of Education, except for the degrees in the kinesiology program. Now, he is setting his sights on a new goal – a new degree.
“I am currently enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi,” said Edmondson. “I expect to earn that degree at the May 2016 commencement.”