September 22, 2014
The University of Georgia will hold a ceremony to unveil the official portrait of Michael F. Adams, UGA’s 21st president, this Friday, Sept. 26 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Administration Building.
The portrait dedication is being co-hosted by UGA President Jere W. Morehead and John Phinizy Spalding, chairman of the UGA Foundation. Morehead, Spalding and Adams will speak during the event.
Now a president emeritus at UGA, Adams was named the university’s president on June 11, 1997, following nine years as president of Centre College in Kentucky.
Adams earned a Ph.D. in political communications from The Ohio State University in 1973 and has been awarded five honorary degrees. He earned a master’s degree in communication research methodology from Ohio State in 1971 and a bachelor’s degree in speech and history from Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), which named him Alumnus of the Year in 2011.
A specialist in political communication and higher education administration, Adams has written professionally in both areas. He has held senior positions in state and national government as chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker. He also served two years in the administration of Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander.
Either personally or professionally on behalf of the university, Adams has received numerous awards in higher education, including the Knight Foundation Award for Presidential Leadership, the Pioneer Award for Leadership in Civil Rights and the James T. Rogers Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He is the recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Humanities from the Georgia Endowment for the Humanities. For 11 consecutive years, Georgia Trend magazine included Adams on its list of the 100 Most Influential Georgians.
Under Adams’ leadership, UGA’s enrollment grew from 29,693 in 1997 to 34,519 students in fall 2012, the start of his final year.
A native of Alabama, Adams is a graduate of the public schools of Georgia and Tennessee, being named the most outstanding graduate of Chattanooga High School in 1966. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons, David and Taylor, and three granddaughters, Campbell, Tucker and Lawson.