To celebrate the profound and enduring impact of Mina Miller Edison on southwest Florida, 11 women have teamed up with Edison College District President Dr. Kenneth P. Walker to form the Mina Edison Society. To commemorate Mrs. Edisonâ€™s legacy and to keep her memory alive, the women are endowing a scholarship fund in Mrs. Edisonâ€™s name.
The initial contributions from the founding members plus matching donations from the state of Florida have created an endowed scholarship fund of more than $200,000, according to Tracey Galloway, district director of development for the Edison College Foundation. The scholarships are designed to recognize exemplary students and encourage them in their pursuit of excellence. The scholarship recipients must be able to demonstrate strong character, high ethical standards, and strong capacity for leadership. Initially, the scholarship fund will award two students $2,000 each year.
The Mina Edison Society members hope their collective commitment to education and the arts will make a difference in the lives of Edison College students.
â€œI was very honored to be one of the founding members of the Mina Edison Society,â€ said Julia Rush. â€œItâ€™s only natural to honor the wife of the collegeâ€™s namesake and to honor a woman who did so much for Fort Myers. Mina Edison would indeed be pleased to know of the scholarships given in her name which will do so much to help students achieve a successful future.â€
Creation of a scholarship endowment is just the beginning. This fall, the Mina Edison Society founders will be inviting other local women to join as sustaining members in supporting Edison College. As the society grows, so will its activities to benefit the college.
The idea was conceived in 2006 by Walker, who also serves as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Thomas Edison and Hendry Ford Winter Estates.
â€œI have always worked to assure that Thomas Edisonâ€™s legacy is honored through quality service to students and the community and through the beautification of our campus,â€ Walker says. â€œA very important part of the rich Edison legacy is the community betterment achieved by Mr. Edisonâ€™s wife, Mina.â€
Calling herself the â€œHome Executive,â€ Mrs. Edison was responsible for managing the Edison household in Fort Myers and entertaining illustrious guests. She is remembered as one of the most influential citizens in Fort Myers in the 1920s, a result of her active involvement with schools and churches and her intense devotion to beautification.
The founding members of the Mina Edison Society are Sidney Ann Brinson, Berne Davis, Suzanne Edwards, Helen Hendry, Edith Kingsley, Mavis Miller, Kathryn Palmer, Julia Rush, Madeleine Taeni, Lynne Taylor, and Mary Jo Walker.