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Remembering the Professor of the Year

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CAMERA: While at Manchester University, Jim Adams 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.
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TEACHER:Jim Adams, the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year, died Monday, Aug. 5 at age 90. He lived in North Manchester and taught for years at Manchester University. Provided photo

by Rob Burgess , rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

Jim Adams, the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year, died Monday, Aug. 5 at age 90. He lived in North Manchester and taught for years at Manchester University (MU).

On the Manchester faculty from 1957 to 2008, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement for Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named him U.S. Professor of the Year, the nation’s premier honor for extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching, according to a press release by Anne Gregory, assistant director of media relations for the Office of Strategic Communications for Manchester University.

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.

In a message to members of the Manchester University community shared with the Plain Dealer, MU President Dave McFadden reflected on Adams’ career.

McFadden wrote that while at Manchester, Adams 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. Adams 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,” stated McFadden. “Throughout his adult life, Jim was a practicing artist and won numerous awards for his painting and photography.”

A longtime resident of North Manchester, Adams 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, stated McFadden.

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,” wrote McFadden.