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Adams Center Celebrates New Space

Brig. Gen. Bob Moreschi welcomes friends and family of Gail and John A. Adams ’71 to the center named for him.—VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

Brig. Gen. Bob Moreschi welcomes friends and family of Gail and John A. Adams ’71 to the center named for him in Scott Shipp Hall.—VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

LEXINGTON, Va., April 25, 2022—The John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis is now in its own, dedicated space in Scott Shipp Hall, which was celebrated with a reception on April 22. Established in 2002, the center’s resources were originally stored in the corner of a faculty office belonging to Col. Brad Coleman ’95, director of the Adams Center. Coleman worked closely with Adams on his vision for the center, and he described Adams as “deeply committed” to the program. Since its founding, it has been a hub for collecting the stories of veterans of the Cold War and finding links between Cold War history and today’s national security concerns.   

A strategic plan, developed in 2012, focused on the use of the center’s resources for current and future national security professionals, identifying partnerships that would amplify the work of the center. Those partnerships have grown into high-profile conferences, cadet scholarship opportunities, cadet internships, and distinguished scholars visiting post. 

Of course, another part of this plan was the hope for more space and higher visibility, which became a reality in 2021. The new space is 3,600-square-feet on the 300 level of the renovated and expanded Scott Shipp Hall. It includes offices for the director and the deputy director, Maj. Jonathan Jones. The cadet assistants, who previously had nowhere to work, also now have office space. Included in the plans were a research library and comfortable seating. There is also space for cadet collaboration and presentations. 

“This is a fulfillment of John’s vision,” said Brig. Gen. Robert “Bob” Moreschi, Ph.D., dean of the faculty and deputy superintendent for academics. Moreschi is also chair of the Adams Center board of directors, which provides strategic guidance and oversees the activities of the center. “This is a place where cadets, faculty, and scholars from other institutions can come together to collaborate and do research.”

Adams, who would have graduated with the Class of 1971, transferred to Johns Hopkins University after just one year at VMI. He went on to a successful business career while he maintained a strong interest in VMI and in military history. He funded activities of the center with cash donations and total gifts that came to more than $5 million to fund his vision. Adams died in the summer of 2018. A memorial service for Adams and his wife, Gail, was held earlier in the day in Memorial Garden prior to the center’s reception. At the service, Adams was described multiple times as kind and generous, and he was always up for a good debate. Family members, faculty, staff, and four brother rats from the Class of 1971 were in attendance.  

“A lot of people have done a lot of work, but none of this would have happened without John,” said Coleman.

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