Old Dominion University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

Events & Exhibits

Search Special Collections


Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954


The Papers of Clifford L. Adams


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.


Adams, Clifford. Interview held in Norfolk, VA on May 23 and 25, 1983, conducted by Dr. Peter Stewart. ODU library, Special Collections Oral History Archive.

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Clifford L. Adams contains material he created and collected during his tenure as the department director of Old Dominion University’s Office of Research and Development.  It includes all pertinent papers concerning his service as a member of the Research and Development Advisory Committee of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  The date range of the collection starts in 1966 with Adam’s appointment to the R&D office and ends in 1975 after his resignation in 1974.  Material is arranged chronologically first and then alphabetically.

Series Descriptions

This material encompasses all papers collected by Mr. Adams during his service in SCHEV and as the head of the Office of Research and Grant Administration.  It includes policy statements, meeting minutes and agendas, memorandums, correspondence both between committee members and ODU staff, reports, notes, budget information, reports submitted to and/or created by the University’s R&D Office regarding programs funded by grant money or in which University faculty participated.  Material dates from 1965 to 1975.


Clifford Adams, 1966 – 1975


Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.


2 Hollinger Document Cases

Collection Number

RG 2-14B1

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], Box [number], Folder [number], The Papers of Clifford L. Adams, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.

Container Listing

Box 1

Folder 1: R&D/SCHEV State Funding Procedures, 1966 and ODU’s 1970 Report on University’s Request
Folder 2: Potential Ecological Problems at ODU, 1969
Folder 3: Research and Development Committee R&D/SCHEV Policies and Procedures, 1969
Folder 4: R&D/SCHEV Materials, 1969
Folder 5: South East VA Regional Planning Commission’s Report on Regional Law Enforcement, April - May 1969
Folder 6: R&D/SCHEV Materials, Jan. – June 1970
Folder 7: R&D/SCHEV Materials, July – Dec. 1970
Folder 8: Chesapeake Bay Consortium Report 1971 and Subsequent Responses/ Requests of ODU Office of R&GA, 1971-73

Box 2

Folder 1: R&D/SCHEV Record of “Governor’s Council on Environment” Sponsored by NSF/SCHEV, 1971
Folder 2: R&D/SCHEV Materials, Jan. – June 1971
Folder 3: R&D/SCHEV Materials, July – Dec. 1971
Folder 4: R&D/SCHEV Materials, Jan. – June 1972
Folder 5: R&D/SCHEV Committee’s Information on Protection of Human Subjects, 1974-1975

Revised 4/21/10