In the News

Jim Adams is honored in 2002

Manchester University mourns Professor Emeritus Jim Adams

Jim Adams, the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year, died Monday, Aug. 5. He was a northeast Indiana resident, living in North Manchester and teaching at Manchester University until his retirement in 2008.

Arrangements are in care of McKee Mortuary. The celebration of life is 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 in the upper level of the Jo Young Switzer Center. Visitation begins at 2 p.m. and continues following the celebration.

The following is an email sent to members of the University community late Monday by President Dave McFadden.

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Professor Emeritus James R.C. Adams died earlier today, Monday, Aug. 5. He was 90 years old.

For those of you who don’t know, Jim was married to our friend and colleague Thelma Rohrer, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. I know that we will support Thelma and hold her in our prayers in the days ahead. 

On the Manchester faculty from 1957 to 2008, Jim had a remarkable life and career. Our community celebrated with pride in 2002 when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement for Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named Jim U.S. Professor of the Year, the nation’s premier honor for extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching. Then-President Parker Marden called the award “a marvelous honor for a great teacher, a fine artist, an excellent campus citizen and a remarkable exemplar of service learning.”

At Manchester, Jim taught in the art, English, music and Spanish departments, integrating service and interdisciplinary approaches to learning. His courses included painting, drawing, art history, photography, and a course called Exploring the Arts, among others. Jim also was instrumental in developing what Manchester then called First-Year Colloquium courses, designed to help first-year students apply writing, research and communication skills to an interesting topic. 

Jim was passionate about global travel and leading students in study abroad experiences, and he loved to apply what he learned to his teaching. One of many newspaper stories written about Jim reported that he had traveled to around 50 countries, spoke five languages and read seven others in addition to English. 

Throughout his adult life, Jim was a practicing artist and won numerous awards for his painting and photography. 

Many of Jim’s students considered him a mentor, someone who was kind and believed in them and their abilities. “I want my students to become inquisitive,” Jim once wrote, “to gain self-confidence, and to believe that they can meet any challenge if they try hard enough.” He also expected them to learn enough about the civilization to which they belonged to join in what Robert M. Hutchins called “the great conversation.”

A longtime resident of North Manchester, Jim did much to strengthen and enrich the community, working on community development, town planning and researching funding opportunities for town development projects. He directed important restoration projects of historic buildings in nearby communities.

He was a frequent lecturer at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and broadcast a yearlong radio series about classical music on a popular Fort Wayne radio station. For many years, he wrote the program notes for the Manchester Symphony Orchestra concerts.

A native of West Virginia, Jim earned undergraduate degrees at George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts at the Instituto Allende, affiliated with the University of Guanajuato, Mexico, and spent three years at the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University. 

There is so much more I could say about Jim. He used his many interests and talents to benefit others. He lived fully and deeply and with kindness and gratitude. Manchester is richer for his time on Earth and we will miss him.


Dave McFadden
Manchester University

Aug. 6, 2019