The Adams Scholarship

Dr Peters class outside

Before Daniel Church was a graduate student in urban planning at Berkeley, he was a post-baccalaureate fellow working in the sustainability program at Sewanee. Before that, he was an environmental policy student who impressed his professors with his intellect and work habits. And before that, Daniel was a kid from Little Rock, Arkansas, who was awarded a scholarship to come to Sewanee.

As a scholarship recipient, Daniel can thank Jerry Adams, C’65, and his wife Madelyn, for setting up the endowment that states a preference for supporting students from Arkansas.  “When I came to Sewanee in 1961, I was fortunate to receive a Kemper Scholarship, and that had a lasting influence on me,” says Adams. In the 1960s, the Kemper Insurance company made scholarships to promising students at liberal arts colleges across the country, and Sewanee was one of these. Scholars had at least the opportunity to work for the company but at the very least had an introduction to the life of commerce.

Being from Arkansas himself, Jerry Adams often felt that his home state is underrepresented at Sewanee. In 2005, the couple decided that they wanted to create a scholarship specifically for Arkansan students at Sewanee.

This decision turned out to be an extraordinary experience not only for the scholarship recipient but for the Adams’ as well. “We have thoroughly enjoyed forming relationships with the recipients and watching them grow both academically and personally.”  So far there have been three Adams Scholars—Chris Yeatman (C’15), Liza Epps (C’10 ) and Daniel Church (C’12). While Yeatman is still in school, both Epps and Church have had great post-baccalaureate experiences. Epps went on to earn the J.D. from William and Mary Law School and is an associate at the Olsen Law Firm in Chattanooga. Church is completing his master’s at Berkeley.

Initially this scholarship funded only one student every four years. However after experiencing the rewarding feeling of aiding one Sewanee student, the Adamses decided to create a scholarship for one student per class year—freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.

It was ultimately Mr. Adams’ love for Sewanee that encouraged him to give to the University. He claimed, “Sewanee is and will always be an important part of who I am.”