Published on January 12, 2023 by Morgan Black
A substantial gift honoring the legacy of Birmingham business icon Thomas J. Adams Sr. has been made to Samford University’s Brock School of Business. With the gift made by the Adams family, the Thomas J. Adams Sr./AutoTec Endowed Professor in Risk Management and Insurance has been established.
The fund is named for Thomas J. Adams Sr. who was instrumental in the continued growth and expansion of AutoTec, a sixth-generation insurance and technology company that started in Birmingham in the late 1880s and continues to thrive as an integral part of the Birmingham business community. Adams, a member of the 2018 Birmingham Business Hall of Fame, attended Howard College and, along with his family, had a deep appreciation for the role that Samford and Brock School of Business play in the developing ethical business leaders. AutoTec has maintained the core of its business focused on risk management and insurance since its founding.
The family chose to establish the new professorship to serve as a reminder of their father’s legacy.
Adams’ son, Richard M. Adams, is vice president of AutoTec. He said, “My brother Tom and I are excited about the future of the AutoTec companies, now under the able leadership of a younger generation, and pleased that our father will be recognized by this investment in the Brock School of Business.”
The establishment of the new endowed professorship is part of a multipronged initiative to develop a comprehensive program for students who want to launch careers in the risk management and insurance industry. In Brock School of Business, the risk management and insurance concentration can be added as a complement to any business major and the Alfa Risk Management and Insurance Lab supports the students in their industry-related research. Additionally, the Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board members serve as professional resources for students.
In gratitude for the Adams family’s support, Chad Carson, dean of Brock School of Business said, “We are so grateful for the support of the Adams family. The new endowed fund and creation of the Thomas J. Adams Sr./AutoTec Endowed Professor in Risk Management and Insurance is a vital cornerstone in our efforts to fully develop a risk management and insurance program that is built for the future."
This is not the first time the Adams family has financially supported Samford. For many years, the family has supported the William Hester Manly Scholarship established in memory of their grandfather, William Hester Manly. The scholarship has been awarded to business students who exampled high scholarship and Christian character and promise of leadership and service in their chosen field.
Adams said, “Samford is a vital part of the community where our employees live and where our business has thrived. We applaud and share the Brock School of Business’ emphasis on integrity and ethics and are honored to support the university and the business school in this way.”
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.