A Sense of Mission — Adams Enters Second Decade as FDU President


A Decade of Distinction — FDU Magazine Summer/Fall 2009
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His favorite riddle goes something like this: What is the difference in America between a carpenter and a college president? The answer: one generation. It’s a tale with a personal side. “Growing up in Illinois, I never in my wildest dreams thought of becoming a college president. My father was a carpenter who frankly didn’t think I should even go to college. But I did, and education expanded my vision, opened new doorways and enlarged my world. That’s the purpose of education, and that’s what we do so well at Fairleigh Dickinson. We transform lives.”

FDU has entered its second decade of transforming lives under President Adams. In fact, Adams, who became president on July 1, 1999, is now the longest-seated FDU president after founder Peter Sammartino. It’s a distinction that’s deeply meaningful for Adams. “I have anchored my heart and soul here. I sincerely believe there is no more desirable place in higher education anywhere in the world than Fairleigh Dickinson University.”

"From the beginning, a major emphasis at Fairleigh Dickinson was on understanding what went on all over the world. We tried to inject this point of view into the bloodstream of the institution and in every facet of the college's activity. … We wanted to widen the horizon for our students and give them a broader understanding of international matters." Peter Sammartino, founder and first president of FDU, "I Dreamed a College." (1977)

After a decade of serving Fairleigh Dickinson University, he says the institution has made important progress. “I said early in my presidency that the decade before I arrived was focused on survival and maintaining our academic integrity. We did that, and I am thankful for all those who made that possible. But I also knew then that we had to reach the next level. We had to distinguish our institution and enhance our academic reputation.”

Through the decade, he adds, there have been many great accomplishments, but “I am most gratified to see the well-deserved rise in our reputation.” Adams says that can be illustrated in many ways, including enrollment numbers, selectivity rates, alumni giving and external recognition. But for him, the “most exciting thing is to see people react with pride and enthusiasm when they talk about FDU. I travel in many circles, and the feedback I receive about the University is incredible. I love listening to the praise, but I do not take the credit. The credit goes to a talented community that is passionate about fulfilling our mission and serving our students.”

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On a Mission | Making the Mission Real | Making It Personal | Moving Globally


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Link to Article "A Sense of Mission" Link to Faculty Profile — Jason Scorza Link to Mission Milestones & Highlights — FDU-Vancouver Link to New and Enhanced Facilities Link to Athletics Accomplishments Link to A New Culture of Philanthropy Link to FDU Alumni Association Link to A Message from J. Michael Adams