Adams Named University of Georgia President
Atlanta — June 11, 1997
Dr. Michael F. Adams, president of Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky, has been named president of The University of Georgia by the Board of Regents and University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen Portch.
The new president will join the University on September 1, 1997.
“Michael Adams is a perfect match for The University of Georgia at this pivotal juncture in the institution’s history,” Portch stated. “He brings the perfect blend of academic, administrative and political experience to this post, which will be superb assets as he reacquaints himself with Georgia and fulfills the expectations of the University’s many constituents. We look forward to the leadership that Dr. Adams will provide in further positioning UGA as a major research university, while enhancing its reputation for teaching and learning.”
Since December 1988, Adams has served as the 19th president and professor of government at Centre College. Centre is Kentucky’s leading institution of higher education and has a tradition of excellence in the arts and sciences. Founded in 1819, Centre is cited among the nation’s 20 oldest liberal arts colleges.
During his tenure as president, Adams strengthened the College’s commitment to excellence in the liberal arts. He led the development of a 10-year strategic planning effort designed to move the institution into the upper echelon of national liberal arts colleges. He also opened two residential foreign studies programs in London and Strasbourg, France. In 1996, more than 50 percent of Centre’s graduating class had studied abroad as a part of their undergraduate curriculum.
In 1995, Centre College was named one of the top 25 teaching institutions. Approximately 40 percent of the college’s students major in the sciences. The institution places strong emphasis on faculty/student collaboration on research, and recently received $500,000 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and $400,000 from the National Science Foundation for such research initiatives.
Adams also tripled the college’s endowment to over $120 million, and achieved the highest percentage of alumni giving in higher education. Private gifts and grants for the current fiscal year are approaching $9 million, up from $1.4 million in the year prior to the president’s arrival. Adams is currently conducting what was to have been a $60 million “Front and Centre” capital campaign to prepare Centre College for the 21st century, an effort that already has surpassed the $67 million mark. The campaign funds have been earmarked for faculty support and student financial aid.
Adams has held numerous national leadership roles in higher education, including: serving as a trustee for the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, vice chair of Division III of the NCAA Presidents Commission, and as a member of the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, including one year as its chairman. Adams also served as vice chair of the task force that formed the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and as the first president of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), the formation of which he led. In addition, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education.
Prior to joining Centre College, Adams served as vice president for university affairs and professor of political communication at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, a position he held from 1982-1989. From 1980-82, he served as a senior advisor to Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. From 1974-79, he was as an assistant to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker, serving the last three years as Sen. Baker’s chief of staff.
Adams conducted post-doctoral work in comparative educational systems at Oxford University in England, in the summer of 1983. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1973, with a major in political communications and a minor in educational administration. He also earned his M.A. in communication research methodologies in 1971 from Ohio State. Adams received his B.A. from Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1970, majoring in speech and history and minoring in economics. He attended public schools in Atlanta, Albany and Macon, Georgia.
Adams was born in Montgomery, Alabama, to Hubert and Jean Adams, who now reside in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He is married to Mary Lynn Ethridge Adams, and the couple have two children. David, 19, is a junior at Centre College. Taylor, 17, will be a freshman at Emory University this fall.
Regent Donald M. Leebern, chair of the Special Regents Committee which selected three finalists for the board’s and the chancellor’s consideration, expressed his pleasure with the outcome of the search process and Adams’ selection: “I was delighted with the quality of the finalists,” he said. “In Mike Adams, I believe we have a president who will expect excellence in everything the University of Georgia does and who will be received well both on campus and throughout the state.”
The president’s salary will be $177,000, with a $13,500 subsistence/travel allowance, both from state funds. The state salary will be supplemented by $59,000 in private funds from The University of Georgia Foundation. Adams initially will reside in The University of Georgia President’s House.
Current UGA President Charles Knapp will leave the university on June 14. Since Adams will assume the presidency on September 1, Chancellor Portch has appointed Dr. William F. Prokasy, currently the chief academic officer at UGA, to serve as acting president during that period.