Heidelberg College has received the largest single donation from a living alumnus – a $2 million gift that has been designated for renovation of a centrally located campus facility and the eventual relocation of the Business Department there.
John Q. Adams, Heidelberg class of 1958 and a member of the Board of Trustees, was on hand as announcement of his gift was made Friday by President F. Dominic Dottavio, who described Adams as an innovative entrepreneur who understands the rich history and great possibilities for Heidelberg.
Sondra Libman, chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, said Adams’ gift has the power to transform the Business Department and provide it with a crown jewel among academic facilities on the campus. The college has targeted the currently vacant Laird Hall of Science, built in 1913 and utilized until recently for science classrooms and labs, for the renovation and relocation project. Adams was consulted on possible uses for his gift, and concurs about the potential for the Business Department to attract prospective students with an interest in business.
“I look at students today and I see an area for a lot of opportunities for them to utilize a business degree,” Adams said.
During today’s luncheon presentation, soon-to-be Academic Dean David Weininger spelled out his vision for the facility, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This new home for the Business Department has great potential for growth,” said Weininger. “For that to happen, we need two things: a great academic program and a great facility. The faculty can take care of the academic program. What we need help with is the new facility.” he said.
Weininger said he envisions the new Laird returning as the “bustling center of student activity” he remembers. The building, he added, has a great utilitarian purpose, and coupled with its history and central location, that makes it a prime candidate for renovation. Estimated cost of the project is $5 million.
In announcing the gift, Dottavio thanked Adams for his vision and commitment to the college’s mission “and his deep love of Heidelberg.” Adams said he envisions a Business Department that will bring successful executives to campus to spend time with students, sharing with them advice about successful careers. “I believe we’ll get there,” he said.
Adams, who lives in Texas, has founded, owned and sold several successful pharmaceutical companies, including Baylor Laboratories, Allerderm and Adams Labs. He is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology. In his retirement, he owns and operates Rough Creek Lodge, a luxury resort and conference center near Dallas. He also maintains his ranching interest and holds memberships and board positions in several philanthropic organizations, including the College of Allergy.
In 2006, Heidelberg recognized his career achievements by presenting him with an honorary doctorate.