Alabama Academy of Honor


Ralph Wyatt Adams

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1977 and 1998.



Dr. Ralph Wyatt Adams, president of the Troy State University System, was a native Alabamian, born June 14, 1915, in Samson. He was a man of varied interests who made significant achievements in a wide spectrum of activities, including education, military, law, athletics, business, and state and national services.

He earned his A.B. degree at Birmingham-Southern College and received the LL.B., LL.D., and J.D. degrees from the University of Alabama. He also did post-graduate work at the University of Colorado and George Washington University.

Dr. Adams practiced law in Tuscaloosa and became a judge in 1946. He entered the Air Force in World War II and served as a pilot. After the war he was a Judge Advocate, acting dean of the Air University Law School and director of the Alabama Selective Service System. He left active military service in 1964 but continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve and Alabama National Guard until he retired as a major general in 1975.

Under his leadership, Troy State went from a teachers' college to a general purpose university with national recognition. During this time the faculty was upgraded to the extent that it had a higher percentage of Phi Beta Kappa members than at any other university in the state. The facilities were upgraded and the enrollment increased to approximately 10,000 students on campuses in eight counties on three continents. One of his most significant accomplishments was the attraction to the university faculty members of national and international reputations.

Dr. Adams served as president of the Gulf Coast Conference (Athletics) and as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lyman Ward Military Academy. In the field of pubic service, Dr. Adams was the chairman of the State Personnel Board, the State Insurance Board, and the State Oil and Gas Board. He served on the National Board of Directors of the English-Speaking Union of the United States. In 1975 he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Presidential Clemency Board. Formerly, he served as vice president and member of the Alabama-Florida Boy Scouts Council and received the Silver Beaver Award. For his achievements, President Adams was named "Man of the Year" in Troy in 1968 and again in 1975.

In the business field, he served on the Board of Directors of the First Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Troy, the Southern Bank in Montgomery, the American Educators Life Insurance Company, the Pike Manor Nursing Home, and Troy Cablevision.

His educational, patriotic, and civic interests resulted in his membership and leadership positions in such organizations as the American Legion, Masons, Rotary, Pi Tau Chi, and Phi Eta Sigma. He was a member of the Methodist Church.

Dr. Adams was married to the former Dorothy Kelly. They have three children: Ralph Wyatt, Jr., Kelly Clements (Mrs. James B. Allen, Jr.), and Sam.

Ralph Wyatt Adams died on May 13, 1998.