May 20, 2010
Now in his 13th year as President of the University of Georgia, Michael F. Adams is one of America's longest serving and best known university presidents. A widely respected figure in higher education, he has been elected by his peers to lead a number of national organizations including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the American Council on Education and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Executive Committee.
He holds a PhD from The Ohio State University and has been awarded five honorary degrees. In addition, he is a specialist in political education and higher education administration and has written in both areas. Adams has held senior positions in state and national government - as Chief of Staff to former Senator Howard Baker and as an advisor to former Tennessee Governor and current Senator Lamar Alexander. He has been involved in the management of state and national campaigns, and is frequently consulted by leaders of both political parties.
Either personally or on behalf of the University he has received more than 50 awards in higher education, including the Knight Foundation Award for Presidential Leadership, the Pioneer Ward 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 prestigious Governor's Award in the Humanities from the Georgia Endowment for the Humanities. For nine consecutive years, Georgia Trend magazine has included Adams on its list of Most Influential Georgians.
The UGA campus has been transformed since he took office, with more than $1 billion in new construction, renovation and infrastructure and 6.2 million square feet of new space completed. The East Campus Village, served by the Harris Dining Commons, added space for more than 1,200 students to help meet demand for on-campus living, and another 500- bed residence hall is under construction. The new home of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, also on East Campus, opened in 2008, and an expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art is under construction. A number of historic structures on North Campus have been restored and renovated. A new Special Collections Library began construction in January 2010, and a range of student-serving facilities, including an expansion of the Tate Student Center, have opened recently.
Under his leadership, the University of Georgia has attained its highest rankings ever, has become the most selective in its history, has grown from some 29,000 students to its highest enrollment of 34,885 and in the past 12 years, UGA has raised more money than it had in the previous 213 years.
Adams is a graduate of the public schools of Georgia and Tennessee, earning his diploma in 1966 as the most outstanding graduate of Chattanooga High School.