Stephen Adams, Who Made Yale Music Faculty Tuition-Free, Dies at 86

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By Stacy Connor


Stephen Adams, a billionaire whose nameless $100 million reward to the Yale Faculty of Music granted a tuition-free schooling to proficient college students embarking on careers in a capricious occupation, died on March 14 at his dwelling in Roxbury, Conn. He was 86.

His demise was confirmed by his spouse, Denise (Rhea) Adams.

Mr. Adams, who graduated from Yale School in 1959, was not a musician himself. However after he turned 55 and was already a affluent enterprise government and wine collector, he turned an beginner piano participant.

In 1999, he marked his class’s Fortieth-anniversary reunion by donating $10 million to the music college — the biggest contribution it had ever acquired. Six years later, he and his spouse surpassed that report once they made their $100 million reward, anonymously.

They didn’t publicly reveal their identification because the donors till 2008, when Mr. Adams was requested to substantiate their contribution by an interviewer from Wine Spectator journal. He agreed to take action then, he mentioned, to spur different contributors as his Fiftieth-anniversary class reunion approached.

“My spouse and I are Christians, and the Bible speaks of giving in secret,” Mr. Adams informed The Yale Each day Information in 2009.

In that very same article, Michael Friedmann, a professor of idea and chamber music, mentioned, “Musicians, versus docs or attorneys, should not able to repay academic loans simply, and the occupation has a capricious alternative construction.” He added, “The brand new monetary circumstances on the college, nonetheless, put musicians in a really totally different place in relation to their post-Yale careers.”

In 2013, Yale introduced that the campus music complicated, which incorporates Leigh Corridor and Hendrie Corridor, can be often known as the Adams Heart for Musical Arts.

Among the many different charitable causes Mr. Adams and his spouse supported by means of their Adams Household Basis had been the Adams Neurosciences Heart and the Stephen and Denise Adams Heart for Parkinson’s Illness Analysis at Yale; the Stanford Graduate Faculty of Enterprise, the place he endowed three professorships; World Imaginative and prescient, a worldwide Christian humanitarian group; and the Veritas Discussion board, which hosts discussions about philosophy, faith and science for Christian college students on faculty campuses.

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In an interview with Yale Alumni Journal in 2008, Mr. Adams defined that within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, with the encouragement of his spouse, an artist, he had begun going to New York Metropolis twice a month to take piano classes from a classmate who after graduating from Yale School had earned a graduate diploma from the music college.

“I’d follow about an hour a day, and I obtained to the purpose that I wasn’t all that unhealthy,” he mentioned. “Then, a few years in the past, I used to be recognized with Parkinson’s. The precise hand obtained to be just a little little bit of a problem: It had some tremors.”

His decade or so of piano taking part in was principally behind him when he determined to make the reward to the music college that may relieve future alumni of tuition, and the lingering debt of pupil loans, as they struggled to start their careers.

Stephen Adams was born on Nov. 7, 1937, in Minneapolis to Cedric Adams, a columnist for The Minneapolis Star and a broadcaster for the native radio station WCCO, and Bernice (Lenont) Adams, who managed the family.

After graduating from the Blake Faculty in Minneapolis, he earned a bachelor’s diploma from Yale in 1959 and a grasp’s in enterprise administration from Stanford College in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1962. In 2006, he acquired the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award for administration management from the Stanford enterprise college’s alumni affiliation; in 2009, the Yale Alumni Affiliation awarded him its Medal of Honor.

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As a result of most of his belongings had been privately held, Mr. Adams was not well-known. He turned a billionaire by investing in or licensing franchises in an eclectic mixture of mundane companies, together with neighborhood banks, soda bottling corporations, out of doors promoting, native radio and tv stations, leisure autos, tenting provides, and vineyards in California’s Napa Valley and in Bordeaux, France. (He most popular a glass or two of pink with dinner, from his personal vineyards in France.)

His manufacturers included Affinity Group, Tenting World and Adams Out of doors Promoting.

Mr. Adams’s first three marriages led to divorce. Along with his spouse of 32 years, he’s survived by 4 sons, Stephen, Mark, Kent and Scott, from his first marriage; his stepchildren, Weesa, Forrie and Nick Burke, from his second marriage; and 9 grandchildren. His brothers, David and Cedric II, died earlier than him.

Within the Wine Spectator interview, Mr. Adams mentioned one motive he by no means craved public consideration and had made his donation to the Yale Faculty of Music anonymously was that he felt disadvantaged of a personal life as a baby as a result of his father, as an area media character, was too common in his hometown.

“Our household couldn’t exit to a meal with out being interrupted by individuals who wished to shake my father’s hand or get his autograph,” he mentioned. “His life wasn’t his personal. I made a decision then that I’d go the opposite route in my life.”



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