Dr. James Edwards, upon completing high school during World War II, joined the United States Merchant Marines at age 17, and became a ship officer at 19. After WWII, he continued his education as follows: B.S. College of Charleston in 1950 DMD Univ. of Louisville Dental School in 1955 United States Navy Dental Officer in 1955-57 University of Pennsylvania Graduate Medical School in 1957-58 Residence Henry Ford Hospital in 1958-60. He practiced oral and maxillo-facial surgery in Charleston, South Carolina in 1960-1974. Edwards was elected to the South Carolina State Senate in 1972 and served until he was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1974. He was the first Republican Governor elected in South Carolina since Reconstruction. In 1980 he was selected by President Ronald Reagan to be Secretary of the Department of Energy. In 1982 he became President of the Medical University of South Carolina, where he served for 17 years.