Chancellor Michael F. Adams to Conclude Three-Year Appointment

June 7, 2018  | 2 min read

Chancellor Michael F. Adams on the Pepperdine campusMichael F. Adams, who was named chancellor of Pepperdine University in August 2015, will conclude his three-year appointment on July 31, 2018. Adams, the former president of the University of Georgia from 1997 to 2013, is an award-winning educator and political communication specialist. He previously served Pepperdine as vice president for university affairs from 1982 to 1989.

As chancellor, Adams focused on cultivating existing relationships and developing new partnerships to extend Pepperdine’s reach throughout Southern California and around the globe. Following the success of the Campaign for Pepperdine, which concluded on December 31, 2014, Adams took a leadership role on major initiatives and helped strengthen the University’s endowment.

“I have particularly appreciated Chancellor and Mrs. Adams' strategic engagement in planning, friend- and fund-raising, and their apparent love for this University and our community,” said President Andrew K. Benton. “They are champions for our students in the theatre, on the athletic playing courts, and as we plan for the future of the University. It has been a joy and privilege working with them these past three years.”

Prior to his tenure at Pepperdine, Adams held the titles President Emeritus and Regents’ Professor at the University of Georgia. Under his leadership, from 1997 to 2013, the university was recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 public research universities for eight out of 10 years by U.S. News & World Report. During his tenure, the university also attained its highest rankings ever, became the most selective in its history, and grew from an estimated 29,000 students to almost 35,000 students today. Prior to his term at the University of Georgia, he served as president of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, one of America’s top 40 liberal arts colleges, from 1989 to 1997.

A widely respected figure in higher education, Adams 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 (ACE), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Executive Committee.

Adams has received more than 50 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 also the recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Humanities from the Georgia Endowment for the Humanities.

Adams holds a PhD from The Ohio State University and has been awarded five honorary degrees. In addition, he is a specialist in political communication and higher education administration and has written professionally in both areas. He 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.

Adams earned an undergraduate degree in speech and history from Lipscomb University, which named him Alumnus of the Year in 2011. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Mary Lynn Ethridge Adams, for 46 years. They are the parents of two sons and have three granddaughters.