Jay Adams was passionate about the university he helped bring to the Daytona Beach area from Miami in 1965, as a member of the Committee of 100. The volunteer committee was formed to attract and recruit industry and jobs to the area, but Jay’s dedication to the then-flight school would surpass even his expectations.
In 2015, at the 50th anniversary of Embry-Riddle’s move to Daytona Beach — called Operation Bootstrap, because of the volunteer labor and sweat equity it took to move the school — Jay beamed: “Obviously, I’m very proud of [Embry-Riddle]. We’ve come a long way. It makes all the work worthwhile.”
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Jay for his service as a chairman and member of our Board of Trustees,” says university President P. Barry Butler. “In his 41 years as a board member, he worked with every president of the university. He was also an Eagle ‘super fan’ who supported our athletes with internship opportunities and scholarship funds.”
As a trustee, Jay led the university’s major capital campaigns that funded the construction of the ICI Center, the University Sports Complex and the Crotty Tennis Complex. His efforts put Embry-Riddle on the map, literally. Adams Hall, a residence hall on campus, is named in his honor.
A stalwart supporter of Eagle Athletics, in 2015, Jay was honored as a distinguished member of the Embry-Riddle Athletics Hall of Fame. And, in 2017, he and his wife, Leila, were celebrated at the annual Blue & Gold Gala for their more than 50 years of dedication and support to the university and the athletics program.
“Embry-Riddle benefited directly from his generosity and from his tireless advocacy for Daytona Beach,” Butler says.
Jay passed away on Aug. 7, 2019, at the age of 83. He is survived by his wife, Leila Johnson Adams, daughters Julie Adams Rand and Ruthie Pickett (King Pickett), and three grandchildren: Caroline Carter Rand, Leila Elizabeth Pickett and Carly Crafts Pickett.
Help celebrate Jay’s life and passion for Embry-Riddle. Contribute to the Jay and Leila Adams Family Athletic Endowed Scholarship.