Frank Yale Adams

Years: 1901-1903
Presidential Order: 4th President

Frank Yale Adams, born in 1867 in New York state, received his Master of Arts degree in history from St. Lawrence University. His early career was in high schools. He came to Arizona in 1897 and accepted a position at the University as professor of ancient and modern languages in 1897.

After being appointed department chairman, Adams taught three years of Latin and two years each of French and German. He also taught courses in history, political science, philosophy and pedagogy. He was a popular commandant of cadets for the military drill battalion.

When Millard Parker resigned from the presidency, the Arizona Board of Regents made Adams acting president. Students petitioned in his favor and the regents responded by selecting him to be the fourth president of the University.

During the two years that Adams served as president, the University received a legislative appropriation of $25,000 for a new library that Parker had requested.

Two of Adams’ most notable achievements during his presidential term were the implementation of an electrical lighting system to replace coal oil lamps on campus and the construction of a dining hall. David H. Holmes, professor of mechanic arts, drew up plans for the new dining hall. By the summer of 1902 a dining hall seating 210 was completed at a total cost of $7,475.49.

It operated on a nonprofit basis using the proceeds from a monthly board fee of $16. Damaged by fire in 1905, the building was reconstructed “upon the same lines as the original.” This reconstructed building, along with the additions and changes made to it over the years, was finally demolished in 1951 so that the Student Union could be built.

Also during Adams’ short term as president, surveying classes at the University drew up some of the earliest campus maps. These were published in UA Registers, a listing of classes and campus information. In 1902, a 12-member men’s cadet band formed. This was the University’s first band.

When he resigned from the University, Adams served as a professor of history for a year at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. After leaving the College of the Pacific he worked in the real estate business, managed a magnesite company and was a public school teacher before his death in 1919 at the age of 52.