Patrick ‘07 and Melissa ‘05 Edwards met at Newman University on the day he moved into the residence hall that she had already been living in. They quickly formed a connection and later married. Patrick is an attorney and Melissa currently a stay-at-home mom. Both are highly engaged alumni who want to continue making a difference in the lives of current students and their fellow alumni.
Why is important for you to stay connected to your alma mater?
Patrick: I’m currently on the alumni board. First and foremost, it’s a good way to stay in contact with my college friends. For many of those friends, the only times we cross paths are at alumni events. It also helps keep me grounded, and reminds me of a time when life was a little more relaxed.
Melissa: It’s part of who I am. I grew up attending a Catholic school in dallas, then came here. There’s something to be said about the connections you make at smaller, private institutions. Also, my classmates and I have the same values, and that brings us together. I would hope others stay involved after graduating to see how impactful Newman can continue to be to them.
How did Newman prepare you for your future?
Patrick: First of all, I didn’t know I wanted to be an attorney until I was in John Conlee’s constitutional law class that I had to take for my history major — so it definitely affected my future in that way. The other thing is just accountability, especially since I was on the basketball team. We had people, Coach Potter and our assistant coaches, watching us, keeping us in line. At the same time our teachers would hold us accountable for the work we had to miss because of sports. That was one of the things that I think helped me get on the right track. At a time in life when you could otherwise go astray, it’s important to have that accountability. And I can’t forget the emphasis in volunteering and helping others. I had a lot of that growing up, but I think Newman really helped solidify that notion of service.
Melissa: I would agree. When we played softball, the coaches instilled that (accountability) in us. Our coach made sure we were going to classes and keeping our grades up. I’m not sure how many years it was, but our team had the highest GPA of all the sports. Also, creating friendships and coming together and having the same wants in life. We had a lot of friends who went off to different schools, jobs, etc. — but it keeps us connected.
Would you want your children to attend Newman and why?
Patrick: I absolutely would love for our children to attend Newman. I believe here, they can find out who they are but in a non-destructive manner. I’d like my children to come here because it’s a good environment for them to learn in. They wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle and they can get a good education in an environment that holds you accountable and where the teachers really care about you.
Melissa: Creating friendships with other people, even in classes, I really liked that. Pat and I have both created a lot of friendships that are really close. We would love that for our children in any college they would go to.
How would you encourage others to get involved?
Patrick: I would just tell them, as far as how to get involved, to follow the alumni association Facebook page. There are plenty of events that happen throughout the year. I would encourage alumni to pick an event and try it out. I think they’ll enjoy themselves and be repeat customers.