Flint Water Crisis Hero Dr. Marc Edwards to Speak at FSW, FSW Theatre Program Presents Paragon Springs

Oct 24, 2016

OCTOBER 24, 2016 – FORT MYERS, FLA – Dr. Marc Edwards, hero of the Flint, Mich. water crisis, will speak about his experiences exposing contaminated tap water at 3 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Rush Auditorium, Building J, Room 103, Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) Thomas Edison Campus in Fort Myers. The event is free and open to the public.                                                                                                     

Dr. Edwards is the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in environmental engineering, applied aquatic chemistry and engineering ethics. His research group aspires to pursue science as a public good, through laboratory work on practically important but underfunded topics such as corrosion in buildings and opportunistic premise-plumbing pathogens—that work laid the groundwork for investigative science uncovering the 2001-2004 D.C. Lead Crisis and the 2014-2016 Flint Water Disaster. Time magazine dubbed Edwards “The Plumbing Professor” in 2004, and listed him amongst the four most important “Innovators” in water from around the world. The White House awarded him a Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1996. His paper on lead poisoning of children in Washington D.C., due to elevated lead in drinking water, was judged the outstanding science paper in Environmental Science and Technology in 2010. In 2013, Edwards’ was the ninth recipient (in a quarter century) of the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk,” and in 2016, he was named amongst the most influential people in the world by Fortune and Time magazine. 

The presentation coincides with FSW Theater program’s fall production, Paragon Springs. Dr. Edwards' own experiences echo those of the hero in the play written by Steven Dietz and based on Henrik Ibsen's 1882 classic An Enemy of the People.                                                                       

Paragon Springs is a town with a secret.  The "healing waters" of the town's warm springs are a point of civic pride and the tourists who come to bath in the springs are the main source of the town's prosperity. Dr. Thomas Stockman, the chief medical officer of the springs, has discovered a problem. The water is dangerously contaminated. Stockman's discovery plunges the town into confusion as the mayor undertakes to manage the crisis by discrediting the doctor. In this vibrant, often funny, and highly theatrical re-imagining of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Steven Dietz puts the lure of capitalism, greed, and self-interest squarely on trial. This is an entertaining and illuminating drama with powerful contemporary resonance. From Flint Michigan to the waters of Southwest Florida, this is a timely play about the human cost of political gamesmanship.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m., Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 10-12, in the FSW Black Box Theatre, FSW Thomas Edison Campus, Fort Myers. Additional matinee performances will also be held at 2 p.m., on Saturdays, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 general admission, and can be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com.

For more information, contact Stuart Brown, theatre professor, at 239-433-8007 or stuart.brown@fsw.edu.


Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW debuted its intercollegiate athletics program in January 2016. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.