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Sc.D., Colorado School of Mines

Co-author: The Development of Physical Thought (1933) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (1945)

Captain Arthur Stanton Adams (1896–1980) earned the appellation “Father of the Navy’s V-12 Program,” a title bestowed on him by his Navy peers as well as by university colleagues across the nation. The V-12 program was initiated in 1943 with the purpose of granting bachelor’s degrees to future commissioned officers. Approximately 150,000 junior officers were trained at the college level for the expanding Navy—one of the most comprehensive educational undertakings in American higher education.

Born in Winchester, Massachusetts, Adams attended Norwich University in Vermont and was an honor graduate at the Submarine School in New London, Connecticut. He later attached to the Mobile Submarine Division in California.

After contracting tuberculosis in 1921, he was retired for physical disability as a lieutenant and subsequently obtained his master’s degree in physics from the University of California and a doctorate in metallurgical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, where he remained as a faculty member for 19 years.

After a short stay as assistant dean of engineering at Cornell University, the Navy recalled Adams to administer the V-12 college training program. With the program’s termination in 1946, he returned to Cornell, and two years later became president of the University of New Hampshire before accepting an appointment as president of the American Council on Education.

Following his retirement in 1965, he spoke at many commencement ceremonies and received several honorary degrees, totaling 28 in his lifetime. Invited to Kappa Delta Pi’s Laureate Chapter in 1959, Adams received the Legion of Merit honor “for exceptionally meritorious achievement while performing highly responsible duties in the Bureau of Naval Personnel.” As officer in charge of the college training section, he “not only made a distinguished contribution to the greatest wartime training program ever undertaken by the Navy Department, but also laid the solid foundation for a peacetime officer training program which will uphold the highest traditions of the Naval Service for many years to come.”

Adams died in 1980 and was accorded full military honors at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

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