By Kim Chaudoin on 5/4/2011
Michael F. Adams, president of the University of Georgia (UGA), has been named Lipscomb University’s 2011 Alumnus of the Year.
A 1970 graduate of Lipscomb, Adams is in his 14th year as president of UGA. Adams is a widely respected figure in higher education. He was honored at Lipscomb University’s spring commencement on May 7, where he addressed graduates and their families.
“The Alumnus of the Year Award is the highest form of recognition given by the Lipscomb University Alumni Association. Mike Adams exemplifies the Christian business leader we hold up to our students, alumni and community. We are so proud to claim him as one of our alums,” said Bennie Harris, vice president for development and alumni relations.
The award is given annually to an alumnus who “is a successful individual who, through exemplary accomplishments and recognition, and through his/her strong faith and servant-like heart, epitomizes the potential of a Lipscomb education and thereby brings credit and honor to the university.”
Adams is a specialist in political education and higher education administration and has written in both areas. He has held senior positions in state and national government as chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and as an advisor to former Tennessee governor and current U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. He has been involved in the management of state and national campaigns and is frequently consulted by leaders of both political parties. In addition, 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.
The University of Georgia campus has been transformed since Adams took office, with more than $1 billion in new construction, renovation and infrastructure and 6.2 million square feet of new space completed. Under his leadership, the university 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 214 years.
A native of Tennessee, Adams holds a doctorate in political communication and a Master of Arts degree in communication research and methodology from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in speech and history from Lipscomb University. He has been married to Mary Lynn Ethridge Adams, whom he met in a Lipscomb University history class, for 40 years. They are the parents of two sons and have one granddaughter.