Donna Edwards with the Obamas



Donna Edwards (’80) has challenged the status quo since her undergraduate days as one of 12 black women in her class at Wake Forest. Raised in a family that values volunteerism and giving back, she embraced the Pro Humanitate principles of Wake Forest. Donna used her English degree to become a technical writer for NASA’s Spacelab project but felt compelled to attend law school, where she discovered a passion for advocacy. After working with legislators to pass the Violence Against Women Act, she was inspired to run for Congress. Two years later, Donna became the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives from Maryland. She continues to have a voice in national issues and policy as a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.

Donna Edwards received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.