Discover Your Island

James Edmondson

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of James Edmondson

Education for Life

James Edmondson Jr. never wants to stop learning. Edmondson, who is currently the oldest student enrolled at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is now working on his 10th master’s degree.

“I love school and challenging my brain,” said Edmondson, who is working on his Master of Science in Reading. “School is a pleasure for me, and the social benefit is also a plus!”

Edmondson, called J.M. by his friends, was born 1937 in Corpus Christi. During that year, Franklin Roosevelt was president, the Hindenburg burst into flames, and Amelia Earhart disappeared while attempting to fly around the world; events most students have only read about in history books.

Edmondson earned associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees in the in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In January 1993, Edmondson began taking classes at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In all, he has 13 degrees including seven master’s degrees in education from the Island University. With plans to graduate in May 2014 with his latest degree, he will have all of the master’s degrees the College of Education has to offer except Kinesiology. Since becoming an Islander 21 years ago, Edmondson has only missed one semester of school, spring 2010.

“I am trying to keep my brain from going bad,” said Edmondson. “Education keeps my brain alive and functioning.”  

Edmondson has utilized many of his degrees, working as a farmer, teacher, rancher, and judge. For the last 15 years, he has served as Executive Director of the Mathis Housing Authority.

“I was a farmer for 20 years.  Every year there was a drought, I had to go back to teaching to put bread on the table,” said Edmondson.

Edmondson says education runs in his family.  Many of his relatives have master’s degrees.  His daughter is a senior at Texas State University, and his son has a Nuclear Engineering degree from Texas A&M University.

“If society is going to progress, it has to learn from its past and project those things on to the future and education is how you do it,” said Edmondson.  “I plan to stay in school until I die.”