Dr. Faith Waters and Reverend Edward Kimes strive to better the lives of those less fortunate

Spirit of Giving: Professor Emeritus and husband establish annual and endowed scholarships to support members of the Women’s Basketball Team, help others achieve their full potential.

By Susan Field

Throughout their lives, Dr. Faith Waters and her husband Reverend Edward Kimes have been dedicated to giving back to the younger generation.

In her 38-year tenure at East Stroudsburg University, Waters was a secondary education graduate program coordinator, department chair, professor emeritus, and distinguished faculty member.  Kimes was pastor at the United Methodist Church in Effort for 12 years and at East Stroudsburg United Methodist for 15. Both strongly believe in the importance of education: the opportunity to experience higher education without struggling to pay it back and being generous with those in need.

When Waters and Kimes were considering ways to give back to ESU, creating scholarships to help students pay for their education was an easy decision.

“Many people struggle with paying back their education debts, and it affects their entire lives. We want to help students have either no debt, or at least manageable debt, so it doesn’t hold them back,” Waters said.

In May 2021, the couple established the Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship and the Waters-Kimes Endowed Scholarship. Both scholarships assist members of the Women’s basketball team. They also placed ESU in their will.

The decision to support members of the Women’s basketball team came from a desire to help women of color have more equity, and Waters and Kimes both love basketball. They grew up in the greater Philadelphia area as avid sports fans, and Waters briefly coached basketball early in her career as a public school teacher.

The first Waters-Kimes Annual Scholarship recipient was #21, guard Carley Adams, a sophomore psychology major. Waters and Kimes have gone to watch her play and had the opportunity to meet and get to know her.

Kimes’ years in ministry have given him a unique perspective on the power of giving.

“When I’d give eulogies, I could see how someone’s life lived on through their giving nature. I could see the tremendous impact that giving had beyond their years. When Faith and I talk about what we want our legacy to be, we want to continue to give back to causes that are important to us. We want to continue to make an impact,” Kimes said.

When Waters and Kimes told their four children about the charitable bequests in their will for ESU, their children were in full support.

“Maybe that is our legacy—that our children believe that life isn’t just about them; it’s about the larger world where people need help, and you give it,” Waters said.

Waters’ impact on the field of education, goes beyond her charitable donations.

Waters holds a B.S. from Bucknell University, an M.Ed. in English education from Trenton State College, her K-12 supervisory certificates from Villanova University, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She began her career as an English teacher in Hatboro-Horsham High School. She then served as assistant principal at Springfield High School, director of Secondary Instruction for the Central Bucks School District, and principal of Pocono Mountain Senior High School.

In the 1980s, when Waters was an administrator, female secondary principals were unusual. When she joined ESU’s Secondary Education Department in 1989 to teach in the graduate department of Educational Administration, she relished the opportunity to teach future administrators and empower other women in the field.

Waters’ contributions to ESU are significant. She co-founded the Center for Teaching and Learning and served as co-director from 1994-2002. Waters co-authored ESU’s comprehensive classroom assessment model, co-founded the PSED professional development school program, and co-chaired the development of the collaborative Educational Leadership doctoral delivery program with Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

She was an active scholar with multiple publications including the application of the Russian problem-solving system, TRIZ, and co-teaching in the university classroom.

Waters taught 19 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses throughout her tenure. She particularly enjoyed teaching leadership, curriculum, methodology courses, and supervising student teachers.

“At ESU we had really good students who wanted to learn, that wanted to be the best they could be. It was never a case where you had to force kids to learn—they wanted to,” Waters said.

Waters retired from ESU in 2008. She remains active with the university as a board member for the Student Activities Association for the last decade. She is also an APSCURF member (The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties), of which she is the former president. She was actively involved in creating the APSCURF Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship assists a graduate student, of any major, who is in good academic and social standing.

“The overall highlight for me at ESU was the spirit that encouraged you to continue to learn and grow and stretch your boundaries. You were accountable to do quality work. Foremost for me was the spirit of collaboration. There was a feeling that if you worked together with people with different skills and gifts, you could do so much more together than you could alone,” Waters said.

The spirit of learning, growing, collaborating, and sharing has been central to how Waters and Kimes have spent their retirement.

The couple lived in Long Island City for a year and volunteered for a Non-Government Organization that had a partnership with the United Nations. After that, they traveled across the U.S. 10 times, stopping to volunteer with NGOs. They took time to listen to and learn from the passionate volunteers they met along the way.

“The beauty and grace that comes with retirement is that you have time to listen. You are able to hear people’s stories and stay focused on them without having to think about what meeting you have to prepare for next,” Waters said.

Last winter, the couple was living on a barrier island on the coast of southeast Georgia, an area that continues to struggle with the implications of its history. They used their time in the south to listen to people’s stories about racism, equality, poverty, and struggle.

“We have been on a journey of exploration about our own beliefs and actions and ways we can get more insight into how we can be more inclusive, where we fall short, and how we can be better,” Waters said.

When they’re not traveling, they reside at Elk Mountain, between Scranton and Binghamton, where their children and seven grandchildren are nearby.

After devoting their lives to fostering academic and spiritual growth, Waters and Kimes understand how gratifying it is to help others achieve their full potential. “At the end of the day, how much money do you really need in your life?” Waters said. “When you can give back to someone else and make their life better, then you do it.”

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ESU Pets with Warrior Spirit 2022 Contest

The ESU Office of Alumni Engagement would like to celebrate all members of our alumni family, even the ones that wag their tails, flap their wings, or swim under water. Although your pet may not have attended East Stroudsburg University, that does not mean they don’t share our Warrior spirit. Submit a picture of your pet showing their ESU pride to mkoerber@esufoundation.org to be entered to win the ESU Alumni Pets with Warrior Spirit Contest.

*Winner will be randomly selected*

Submissions may be edited and featured online or in print. We will be updating the website throughout the month. The winner will be announced on March 31, 2022.

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Holiday Happy Hour with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Chapter

The ESU Wilkes Barre/Scranton Chapter is ready to celebrate the holiday season with their fellow ESU alumni, friends, and family. Join the celebration at Porkiez Bar and Grill on Friday, December 17, 2021, from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

ESU Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Holiday Happy Hour
December 17, 2021
6 p.m.–8 p.m.


Porkiez Bar and Grill
731 Dunmore St.
Throop, PA 18512  

Free appetizers, cash bar

This event is planned by the ESU Office of Alumni Engagement, Elizabeth Luchansky O’Brien ’01, Corey Hair Wimmer ’03 and all members of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Chapter. For more information on how to get involved and to help with the chapter, contact Corey Hair Wimmer at corey.wimmer@gmail.com.

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Where Warriors Go

July 7– August 9

Summer is finally here; it is a time to relax with family and friends. Have you planned your dream vacation or stay-cation for summer 2021? We want to know where your favorite destination is.

Share a photograph of your favorite destination. Include your name, class year, and the destination for a chance to be featured on ESU’s alumni website, social media, and a chance to win ESU alumni swag. Please let us know why you love this destination. All submissions should be sent to mkoerber@esufoundation.org. Submissions may be edited. One submission per person. Winner will be announced on August 9, 2021 on social media.


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Warrior Fund

ESU alumni can make a difference in the lives of students by supporting the ESU Foundation Warrior Fund. Financial support from alumni is essential for sustaining the high-quality education and positive student experience that makes ESU unique. Our students depend on the entire ESU community, from peers to professors, to help them succeed. You can play your part by making a gift to the ESU Foundation Warrior Fund today. Gifts of every size provide our students with the resources they need to succeed, but also enhance valuable programs that promote confidence, leadership skills, and teamwork. The next generation of Warriors are counting on you. Make your gift.

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Warrior Activity Sheets

Entertain your future and current Warriors with our activity sheets!

Whether you’re going on vacation or enjoying a staycation, these activities are sure to keep Warriors occupied. Choose one or print them all, click on the image to open, and download a PDF document to print.

  • Coloring pages
  • Word search
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Word scrambles
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Warrior maze

Check them out here: Just For Fun – ESU Alumni

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ESU memories and inspirations

Do you have a favorite memory from ESU? Maybe you had a blast attending athletic events or concerts with friends. Or maybe your fondest memories were in the classroom, library, or dining hall. Or perhaps a professor, administrator, or another student inspired or influenced you in some way.

Whether you’re a current student or someone who attended East Stroudsburg State Teachers College, East Stroudsburg State College, or East Stroudsburg University, we want to know what or who made an impact. 

Share your memories and inspirations here!

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Recognizing Outstanding Alumni

The Alumni Association is seeking to renew its pool of candidates for the annual Alumni Awards. Nominate your classmate at https://www.esualumni.org/awards. Deadline for nominations is May 31st!

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ESU Alum’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Shines Through Despite Pandemic

At the start of 2020, JD Wilson was earning around $75,000 a year operating his “dream” business, an events company called Lead U that hosts empowerment workshops at schools across the country.

The idea for the company sprang to mind in 2016, when Wilson was a teacher in New Jersey watching the Dribbler, a former Harlem Globetrotter, perform at an assembly for his fourth grade students. Why stick to teaching math when he could craft experiences that would teach students life lessons they would remember for years to come? Wilson thought.

He resigned from his teaching job at the end of the school year, and from 2016 to 2020, Wilson built Lead U, reveling in the energy and enthusiasm of the students he visited and empowering them to “find the leader within.” Life was good: The company was pre-booked throughout 2020 and Wilson was traveling to Canada and England to host assemblies and workshops. He felt fulfilled helping kids gain confidence.

“The money started coming in, and I loved what I was doing,” Wilson says. “I felt like I was really, really making an impact on the kids.”

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Lead U lost all of its business since the company relied on in-person workshops and presentations. Like millions of others in the U.S. and across the world, Wilson’s life changed seemingly overnight.

Having lost his mother a few months earlier, and now his business, by mid-March Wilson was at his “lowest point” in years, he says. He knew he needed a change of scenery.

With a teaching degree and experience to fall back on, he began applying to schools in Hawaii, where teachers are often in high demand. In such high demand, in fact, that Wilson was offered a job teaching third grade when he cold-called a school — if he could start in three days.

Wilson packed a single bag, had a goodbye luau with his family and moved to Kailua, in Oahu, Hawaii, in July of 2020. Hawaii is significantly more expensive than New Jersey, he says, and he’s making $47,000 per year, a little more than half as much as he used to.

But despite the drop in income, he loves the island and its energy. When he first moved, he says he was shocked that people in the community who didn’t know him took time to drop off food during his two-week quarantine. It’s helped him gain perspective on how he really wants to live his life and treat others.

“I’m learning from the culture out here. I’m learning from the people. I’m learning from my colleagues,” he says.

Still learning and growing

Wilson says he has a lot to learn, both in life and when it comes to his money.

He took a circuitous route to entrepreneurship. After graduating from high school in 2001, he attended East Stroudsburg University, graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in history and around $70,000 in student loan debt.

“It’s not the greatest thing to get after five years of schooling,” Wilson admits of his degree, noting it was difficult to find a job. From there, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Iraq. He remained in the military until 2010.

The military “humbled me and made me realize you have to do what you want to do in life,” he says. That’s when he decided to get his post-baccalaureate in teaching at Caldwell University, which the military paid for.

Looking back, Wilson says he has made some mistakes. Perhaps the biggest was taking out so many student loans, he says. While the military paid off around $25,000, he still has around $40,000 left and pays $586 a month (he has continued to pay them each month, despite the Covid-related pause on federal student loan payments).

For Wilson, the student loans are a symptom of a larger issue: He’s never been good at managing his finances, he says, personal or business. At 38, he’s still learning some of the basics.

One of his main goals in Hawaii is to create and stick to a budget. He’s making progress, noting that he no longer buys single-use plastic items like water bottles, which he used to do without a second thought. In fact, he’s cut out virtually all discretionary spending and says that his lower salary actually motivates him to save more.

“I’m not good with money, and it is probably one of my biggest flaws and the thing I need to work on the most,” he says. “But I’m learning, I’m always learning, every day.”

Family ties

Wilson grew up with his parents and two older sisters, Laurie and Wendy, in Toms River, New Jersey, near the Jersey Shore. Theirs was a happy suburban household, Wilson says. His parents sent all three kids to private school and encouraged their children to pursue their dreams; Wilson says he was at the beach every day.

But there were challenges behind the scenes, Wilson says. Though his parents hid any money worries from him, finances became tighter when his mother, Diane, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late ’90s; by the time he was in high school, she was confined to a wheelchair and had to quit her job as a teacher.

To pay for her medical bills, the family had to make sacrifices, including selling their home when she was diagnosed and renting different apartments over the next few years to save money. For a few months the summer before Wilson entered high school, the kids and their parents all lived with different friends because they couldn’t afford to rent a place.

Even with sacrifice, the family struggled financially. “We didn’t have money to get all the amenities that would have made her life so much easier,” Wilson says. “But you never would have noticed it because of her attitude … she continued to maintain being such an amazing mom.”

Wilson’s mother passed away in October 2019. He credits her and his father with instilling a work ethic in all of their children and with giving him permission to put “passion over profits.” If he pursued what he loved, his parents told him, the money would work itself out.

“They always, always said…that as long as you’re doing what you love, that’s all that really matters at the end of the day,” Wilson says. “And I believe in that 100%.”

How he budgets his money

  • Rent: $1,675 (one-bedroom apartment, including Wi-Fi and utilities)
  • Food: $650 ($350 for groceries, $300 for dining out)
  • Student loans: $586
  • Car: $194 (including gas and insurance)
  • Phone: $130
  • Gym: $85 (including separate yoga classes)

Since he moved, Wilson has kept all discretionary spending low. Life in Hawaii is expensive and after paying for rent, groceries and his student loans each month, he doesn’t have much money left over. Since filming, he says he has cut his food budget significantly.

He keeps a “minimalist” lifestyle, as he describes it, sleeping on an air mattress in his sparsely furnished apartment and owning a single cup (affectionately, and appropriately, named Cup).

“There’s something about having very simple things at home that helps me emotionally and mentally throughout the day,” he says.

Currently, Wilson does not have retirement savings, and, because of his relatively low salary coupled with higher living expenses, he has depleted most of his pre-Covid savings. He moved to Hawaii with around $10,000, and now his savings account is down to around $1,100. “I ran through it,” he says.

He doesn’t plan to live this way forever. But for now, he says the situation works for him. He teaches, surfs, sleeps and eats. He doesn’t need much else at the moment.

It’s a drastic change from his life in New Jersey, when he was always on the move, seeing people and hosting events. He appreciates the slower pace.

“Back home, the first question people usually ask you is, ‘What do you do for a living?’” he says. “Here it’s, ‘What are you doing today?’”

For the past few months, as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has accelerated in the U.S. and Americans have started envisioning returning to something of a “normal” life, Wilson has been working on restarting Lead U. He’s even already booked some events.

Going forward, he also hopes to create a healthier budget and establish savings for himself and for his company.

“The truth is, the biggest investment I’m making right now is in myself, and in the bet that, hopefully, Lead U comes back,” he says. “You have to do what you want to do in life, and you have to make it happen on your own.”

News source: How this 38-year-old earning $47,000 a year in Hawaii spends his money (cnbc.com)

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We always are…BETTER TOGETHER!

Always Better Together. Given the past year, the statement rings truer than ever for us all. As a supporter of the East Stroudsburg University Foundation, we value and miss the time we spend with one another and look forward to when we can gather and connect in person once again.

In the meantime, we want to share with you the impact of your generosity from Warriors who received scholarship support through the ESU Foundation. Every spring, the Foundation hosts its annual Scholarship Celebration. This year, Always Better Together, the 12th Annual Scholarship Celebration, A Virtual Experience, premiered earlier this month. Presented by event sponsors The Haverford Trust Company and PSECU, this year’s celebration reminds us that, no matter the challenges, we always have each other to lean on.

Because you matter to us, we want to share the meaningful message of thanks with all our alumni, friends and partners! Enjoy the presentation!

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