In memoriam: Dr. J. Michael Adams, UNU Council member

  • 2012•06•22     Morristown

    It is with great sadness that the United Nations University announces the death of Dr. J. Michael Adams, president of Fairleigh Dickinson University and member of the UNU Council. Dr. Adams, age 64, died on Thursday, 21 June 2012.

    He earlier had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood disorder, and in February this year underwent an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant.  He was subsequently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced sadness at the news, saying “Dr. Adams was a strong United Nations champion and partner, and a personal friend”.

    Dr. Adams had served as a member of the UNU Council, the governing board of the University, since 2010. “As a member of the UNU Council, Dr. Adams keenly advocated the role of higher education as a means to promote human development, peace and sustainability — goals that align closely with the mandate of UNU”, said a spokesperson for UNU Rector Konrad Osterwalder. “He will be deeply missed by his fellow Council members and by all of his colleagues at the United Nations University.”

    As president of Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU; New Jersey, USA) from 1999–2012, Dr. Adams launched the United Nations Pathways program and helped the institution gain nongovernmental organization (NGO) status with the United Nations Department of Public Information. FDU also became the first university in the world to earn “Special Consultative Status” with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and was the first university to join the UN Academic Impact, an alliance of universities committed to supporting UN projects and goals.

    During his presidency, FDU raised its enrollment, established a new campus in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), dedicated $135 million to new facilities and campus improvements, and successfully concluded the largest capital campaign in university’s history.

    Dr. Adams had served as a National Council member of the United Nations Association of the United States of America; as a Steering Committee member of the World Bank’s Researchers Alliance for Development; and on the Executive Committee of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP).

    In June 2011, Dr. Adams was inaugurated president of IAUP and implemented several new initiatives, including the attainment of charitable status for IAUP and the launch of the WISE Education Leadership Program (providing leadership training for newly appointed university presidents in the developing world) and the IAUP/Microsoft Academic Summit to promote the effective use of technology in education.

    He is survived by his wife, Susan M. Adams, a son, Benjamin Carl, and two daughters, Rebecca Ann and Elizabeth Ann.