Cecile A. Hoover Edwards

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Cecile A. Hoover Edwards (October 26, 1926-September 17, 2005) was the Dean of the School of Human Ecology, Dean of the School of Continuing Education, and the Interim Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences at Howard University. She also established their doctoral program in Nutrition.

Life and Education

Dr. Cecile Hoover Edwards

Dr. Cecile Hoover Edwards was born in East Saint Louis, Illinois on October 26, 1926. Her father, Ernest Hoover, managed an insurance company. Her mother, Annie Jordan, was a schoolteacher. She graduated from high school at 15 years old and went to Tuskegee Institute. She graduated from Tuskegee in 1946 with a B.S. in Nutritional Chemistry. She continued at Tuskegee, doing research on the animal source of protein and earned a M.S. in Organic Chemistry in 1947 (before she was 21 years old).

Hoover Edwards went on to earn her Ph.D. in Food & Nutrition from Iowa State College in 1950. Her dissertation was titled, "Utilization of nitrogen by the animal organism: V. Influence of caloric intake and methionine-supplementation on the protein metabolism of albino rats fed rations low in nitrogen and containing varying proportions of fat."

In 1952, she married Gerald Alonzo Edwards, a physical chemist. They had three children together.

Dr. Hoover Edwards died on September 17, 2005 in Washington Home Hospice. Her husband died three months prior. She was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina.

HBCU Contributions

In 1956, Dr. Hoover Edwards joined the faculty at Negro Agricultural & Technical College of North Carolina where she taught nutrition and research. She served as the Head of the Home Economics department from 1968-1971.

In 1971, she went on to teach at Howard University. She was a professor of nutrition and continuing economics. During her tenure at Howard, she was the Dean of the School of Human Ecology for thirteen years, Dean of the School of Continuing Education, and the Interim Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. She also established the doctoral program in Nutrition.

In 1978, she received the Ford Foundation Fellowship to act as a nutritional consultant at the University of Khartoum in Sudan.

She returned to Howard to serve as a Dean of the School of Human Ecology until she retired in 1990.


While a Dean at Howard University, Dr. Hoover Edwards concurrently oversaw a 5-year program that focused on the pregnancies of low-income women. She was interested in how these pregnancies were affected by socioeconomic and nutritive factors. She was a nutritional consultant and was also a member of numerous government committees including those convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health.

Dr. Hoover Edwards has authored over 160 research papers and co-authored a 1991 book called Human Ecology: Interaction of Man with his Environment.