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Clifford L. Adams Papers

Collection ID: RG 2-14B1

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material pertaining to Clifford L. Adams during his tenure as the department director of Old Dominion University’s Office of Research and Development. It includes records concerning his service as a member of the Research and Development Advisory Committee of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.


  • 1966-1974



0.80 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Clifford Lowell Adams was born to George W. and Estelle M. (Baldwin) Adams in Knox County, Indiana on January 28, 1915.  He graduated from Monroe City High in 1932. After working at a farm for four years, he started college at Indiana State Teacher's College (Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Adams graduated with a degree in teaching in 1940 and worked for many different mid-western school systems throughout his early career. In the late 1940s, he was hired by the United States Naval Academy as a professor of physics.  He ended a five year career at the Academy to complete his Master’s Degree in Physics at Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.  After teaching at a number of other institutions of higher learning, Adams was appointed chairman of and further developed the Physics Department at Northeast Louisiana State Teacher's College. In 1958 he and his wife Lillian Opal Ratliff moved to Norfolk, Virginia after Adams was hired at the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary.  Adams was asked to establish a physics department and develop academic requirements for science students that incorporated the physics program into the overall curriculum.  On July 1, 1966, he was asked to develop the Office of Research and Grant Administration for the school.  As director, Adams took this year old office and turned it into the principal engine for the development of funded research at the college.  All financial matters concerning research grants were from then on handled by the Research Administration Office’s Foundation (now Old Dominion University Research Foundation) which oversaw grant supported work and recorded the research performed by campus faculty, students, and staff.  This had formerly been counted as one of the many tasks of the business office of the college.  The name of the office changed several times since its creation, becoming the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and then Office of Research and Graduate Studies.  Eventually the office split, creating a separate Office of Research and a separate Office of Graduate Studies. Adams stepped down as head of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in 1974 to return to the Physics department and develop the Physics PhD program. Among the many professional boards and associations with whom Adams worked are the Virginia Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers, ODU’s Chapter of the National Society of Physics Students which he founded, and the coordinating committee for a state-wide crime study.  Most prominent was his role as co-organizer and member of the Research and Development Advisory Committee of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) starting in 1968 and continuing through 1974.  He acted as chairman of that body from 1972-74.  SCHEV was founded in 1956 to act as the state’s coordinating and advising body for institutions of higher learning.  It was designed to promote development and operation of educational institutions within the Commonwealth. Adam’s service to both the school and other organizations continued until his retirement in 1979.  He achieved his goal in creating a nationally recognized Physics program in the Tidewater area, which ODU cites as a great academic tradition.  Clifford Lowell Adams died in 1999.

Note written by Sonia Yaco

Language of Materials



Clifford L. Adams was a physics professor and the director of the Office of Research and Grant Administration from its creation in 1966 until 1974 at Old Dominion University. This collection consists of material he created and collected during his tenure as director.

Source of Acquisition

Clifford Adams

Method of Acquisition


Processing Information

The collection was processed by Sonia Yaco, Special Collections Librarian, in 2010.

A Guide to the Clifford L. Adams Papers
Sonia Yaco
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US