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Gregory M. Adams Study Abroad Fellowship

Gregory M. Adams Biography

Greg Adams was born in Tucson and raised in Phoenix, where he graduated from Central High School in 1968 and earned an A.A. from Phoenix College in 1970. His father, Norman (North Phoenix High, ‘43), and mother, Mildred (Phoenix Union, ‘44), also attended Phoenix College, as did his sister, Kathleen, who was valedictorian of the class of 1973.

Greg received a B.A. in Spanish from Northern Arizona University in 1972, then went on to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. After obtaining a master’s degree in international affairs at Ohio University (1976), Greg spent several years as a teacher at every level from junior high to college to adult education in Ohio and Arizona. He also worked as a tour guide to Mexico, and as a group leader for high school students visiting Spain on a summer youth exchange program.

In 1985, Greg joined the Foreign Service, first with the United States Information Agency, and when that agency was abolished in 1999, with the U.S. Department of State. His specialty was public affairs, which included press and information programs, cultural affairs, English teaching, and professional, academic, and youth exchange programs. During his diplomatic career, Greg served at U.S. missions to Israel, Brazil, Portugal, Honduras, Cuba, and Venezuela, in addition to domestic assignments in Miami, Florida, and Washington, DC. He retired in 2016 and lives in Herndon, Virginia, where his wife Debra is a fourth-grade teacher, and his son, Geoffrey, works for Marriott.

Greg traces his initial interest in foreign affairs and – ultimately – his choice of career to a seminal experience at Phoenix College during his sophomore year. At the time, a prominent campus organization, the Association of Women Students, dedicated itself to raising money to send students on a prestigious summer abroad exchange program. Every spring, the organization would total the funds it had managed to raise through such activities as concession sales at concerts and sporting events and decide how many grants it could afford to provide. Greg was one of nine students selected for funding in 1970 – a record number. He spent several weeks living with a family in Toledo, Spain, and it changed his life.

Greg returned to the United States at the end of that summer with a new sense of purpose, as well as profound gratitude for the opportunity that Phoenix College had provided. He vowed to pay the school back by ensuring that future generations of PC students would have the same chance to benefit from a life-changing experience of living and studying abroad. The Adams Study Abroad Fellowship is the direct result of that vow.

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