Community Spotlight: Joan Roberts and Honoring Dr, Edwin Roberts

Community Spotlight

Joan Roberts and Honoring Dr, Edwin Roberts

Dr. Edwin Roberts was a beloved professor at CSULB in the Political Science department. He loved his job, and his colleagues expect that he would still be doing it to this day if he had not passed in 2005. Dr. Roberts was gone too soon, but his memory is not forgotten.

Dr. Roberts is survived by his family and his sister, Joan Roberts.

To honor his legacy, Joan became a part of the extended CSULB community by creating an endowed scholarship for students in the Political Science Department. The scholarship is titled the Edwin A. Roberts Memorial Endowed Award. It awards students in their Junior or Senior year and is based on scholastic achievement. Recipients must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Joan created the scholarship based on academic achievement because education was important to Edwin and their family. Joan and Edwin both earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Redlands and they both completed their doctoral studies at the University of California, Riverside. Edwin began full-time teaching at CSULB in 1991 as a political theorist and was a valued part of the CSU Long Beach political science department community.

Joan also worked in higher education for 20 years until almost 19 years ago she founded Visiting Angels, a home care company in Riverside that she still manages today. Visiting Angels has received numerous awards for its work.

Joan believes in the power of education to uplift people, but also in helping others in need—values she and Edwin held in common. Joan says that more than anything, her brother, “believed in the goodness of humanity and that education gave people the opportunity to do good in the world.” Edwin was fair to all his students and would assist even students who were not in his class with homework. He thought that if only students had financial help to buy textbooks and other necessities, they would be able to maximize their potential.

Joan initially started with a five-year pledge for the scholarship, but she completed it in three years. She and her parents continue to contribute. Joan and her parents have also given widely to create three other endowed scholarships at the Riverside Community College. Two are in Edwin’s name, and one is in their grandmother’s name.

Joan says it has been an amazing opportunity to build the endowed scholarship with CLA Development and the Political Science Department. She wants other friends and families of alumni and faculty to know that creating a scholarship “allows you to fulfill the hopes and dreams of who you are honoring.” Joan and her parents receive letters from scholarship recipients, and while it cannot bring Edwin back for them, “it makes it a bit better.”

In response to being asked what she wants the Political Science student scholarship recipients to carry on, she says, “I hope they continue my brother’s legacy.” Edwin’s legacy is about helping one another and “he believed education is a part of what helps people get along, working as a sort of equalizer” that helps foster understanding.

Joan’s final message is “every day is a gift” and to take care of one another and value your education, just as Edwin did.