Former Congressman Chet Edwards: W. R. Poage Distinguished Chair of Public Service

This blog post was written by Jonathan Tomes, Graduate Research Center Operations Manager. 

Former Congressman Chet Edwards was named the W. R. Poage Distinguished Chair of Public Service in January 2012. Over the last six years, Chet has lectured to fifty-four classes, met one-on-one with many undergraduate students and graduate students, presented the keynote address at special lectures and events, and worked with Baylor Students in the Washington Internship Program in DC.

Highlights from Chet’s Spring visit to Baylor include lectures to Advanced Leadership, Managerial Communications, Advanced Clinical Practice, Professional Development, World Cultures, Topics in Islam, Ethics, Texas History, Social Policy, and Child Migration in the Western Hemisphere classes.

Dr. Victor Hinojosa, Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors College, had this to say about Chet’s visit to his class in February:

“The visit from Cong. Edwards was one of the highlights of the semester.  I know that my students learned a great deal from him, were inspired by him, and that their class projects will be better because of his insights and guidance.

Congressman Edwards was very helpful in many ways.  In terms of student projects, he helped us think about ways to frame the work and I found his insights there especially helpful.  He also encouraged us to continue our work on the root causes of the refugee crisis and to focus on telling stories – the power of a single story of a victim can change the debate.

I appreciated the way he gave our refugee work a much broader context. He weaved together the history of U.S. immigration policy since America’s founding, going through our nation’s history of waves expansionist and restrictive immigration/refugee policy and helped the students see our current political debates in the context of a much longer story.

Clearly, my students and I learned a great deal and our work this semester will be better for his visit. And yet what I most appreciated about Cong. Edwards’s visit was his optimism and his belief in the system and in these students. He clearly believes in public service and he believes these students can and will make a difference. My students were energized and encouraged by that message, and I am so glad they heard it. I hope he can return to this class when I offer it again in the fall.”

Another encouraging report from a student (Class of 2019):

“After Congressman Chet Edwards presented in class, I became more interested in what we as students can do to have more interaction with our members of Congress. I also felt that our public education and policy paper projects have the potential to make an even greater impact beyond what we initially envisioned.”

Chet Edwards will be on the Baylor campus again March 18-22. If you have any questions about scheduling Chet for your class or event, please contact Jonathan Tomes,


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