WKU chemistry instructor passes away at 40

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

Sarah Edwards, instructor in the Department of Chemistry, passed away from complications related to cancer on Sunday, April 9.

Kevin Williams, chemistry department chair, said in a Facebook post that Edwards was diagnosed shortly before passing away. Edwards was 40 years old.

Edwards joined the department in 2015 as a Instructor of Chemistry before being promoted to rank of Instructor II in 2020.

David Brown, dean of Ogden College of Science & Engineering, said she was “consistently among the most productive” instructors in the college.

“I personally recall her enthusiastic participation last summer in a series of meetings dedicated to maximizing the effectiveness of introductory courses in the sciences,” Brown said in an email. “She was excited to be involved and contributed great ideas.  Her dedication to students was exemplary, as was her willingness to serve.” 

Williams, who worked alongside Edwards for roughly eight years, said he will miss the positive outlook Edwards had even during the COVID-19 transition and her willingness to help out.

“She was part of a group of faculty in the department who would trek down to DSU for an impromptu lunch from time to time when we needed a break and some friendly conversation,” Williams said. “She was always willing to help out whenever there was a call for volunteers.”

Brennan Crain, a past student of Edwards during the 2020-2021 school year, said he didn’t know her for very long, but said he first came to know her as the lab coat-wearing professor around Snell Hall. 

Crain said he came to deeply appreciate her and her patience and intelligence as he got to know Edwards better.

“She was a tremendous help during the height of the pandemic,” Crain said. “She took what could have been difficult chemistry concepts to a developing student and found innovative ways to teach those concepts through means of [the] internet. I regret to hear of her passing and I hope she knew what an impact she had on students like me.”

Williams said she will be greatly missed in the department.

“Her enthusiasm and positive attitude will be greatly missed among her colleagues and friends in the department,” Williams said.

“We miss her already, but will not forget her contributions to WKU,” Brown added.

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected].