Young America’s Foundation is devastated to learn of the passing of a longtime ally and freedom-fighter, Dr. Mike Adams.
Mike S. Adams was born in Columbus, Mississippi on October 30, 1964.
After obtaining an Associate’s degree in psychology from San Jacinto College, Mike Adams moved on to Mississippi State University where he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. While living in the fraternity house, his GPA rose to 3.4, allowing him to finish his B.A., and then pursue a Master’s in Psychology. In 1990, Adams turned down a chance to pursue a PhD in psychology from the University of Georgia, opting instead to remain at Mississippi State to study Sociology and Criminology. This decision was made entirely on the basis of his reluctance to quit his night job as member of a musical duo. Playing music in bars and at fraternity parties and weddings financed his education. He also played for free beer.
Upon earning his doctorate in 1993, Mike Adams, then an atheist and a liberal, was hired by UNC-Wilmington to teach in the criminal justice program. A few years later, Adams abandoned his atheism and also became a conservative. He also nearly abandoned teaching when he took a one-year leave of absence to study law at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998. After returning to teach at UNC-Wilmington, Mike Adams won the Faculty Member of the Year award (issued by the Office of the Dean of Students) for the second time in 2000.
After his involvement in a well-publicized free speech controversy in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Mike Adams became a vocal critic of the diversity movement in academia. He has since made appearances on shows such as Hannity and Colmes, the O’Reilly Factor, and Glenn Beck. His column on TownHall.com earned him endless hate mail – often from radical feminists.
Mike Adams published his first book, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel, in 2004. His second book, Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” On Campus, was published in 2008. Later that year, Adams joined the faculty of Summit Ministries in Colorado where he spent his summers lecturing against abortion and in favor of First Amendment rights on college campuses.
In addition to lecturing on the First Amendment, Mike Adams was actively involved in legal challenges to campus censorship. Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, he won a landmark First Amendment case before the 4th Circuit in Richmond, VA. Decided in 2011, Adams v. UNCW held that professors who publish columns and give speeches have the full protection of the First Amendment when discussing matters of public concern. Hence, when professors report such activities as part of their annual review, tenure, or promotion materials the university does not have license to discriminate on the basis of the professor’s viewpoint.
Adams spoke passionately to thousands of students over the years on topics ranging from free speech, to feminism, to the pro-life movement. He spoke on more than 100 campuses and was a featured speaker at several conferences. Most recently, he spoke to more than 200 students at YAF’s Raleigh Freedom Conference in 2019. You can watch his remarks here:
Mike Adams was also the chapter advisor for Young Americans for Freedom at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The chapter released a statement, noting their shock at this stunning loss.
“This group, the Conservative Movement, the state of North Carolina, the United States, and thousands of men and women across its far-reaching landscape are lesser for his loss,” the statement read. “He will be missed; tears will be shed. Every conservative student at UNCW owes Mike Adams a debt which we can only hope to one day repay.”
Countless YAF students and alumni have been impacted by Mike Adams throughout their lives:
“I met Mike Adams at my first YAF conference in February 2019 in Raleigh, NC while we were in line for lunch. He was incredibly personable, kind, and genuine. His speech, after lunch, was filled with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for teaching young students about free speech and winning legal battles against the left…He was a great American, hard worker, devout believer of freedom, and a strong proponent of free speech. He will be fondly remembered and his important work will continue to influence generations to come.” -Julie Mitchell, National Journalism Center alumna ‘19
“I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Adams speak about his decades of fighting against bureaucratic universities across America last February at a YAF conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. His work defending the First Amendment, in both the academic and legal worlds, has been a beacon of support to myself and thousands of other college students in the Conservative Movement.” -Blake Weiner, Young Americans for Freedom at University of Wisconsin-Madison
“In a culture dominated by the Left, especially academia, Mike Adams embodied what it means to be courageous. He fought his university administration from which his livelihood depended. He stood for life, his faith, and the good that inheres in a free society. The Conservative Movement and our country is at a great loss.” -Grant Strobl, National Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom
“I’m very saddened to learn about the untimely and tragic death of Dr. Mike Adams. In my interactions with him, I greatly enjoyed our conversations and a memorable car ride we had together. He was a free speech titan who vigorously challenged the academic status quo and equally inspired his students to be free thinkers. RIP.” -Gabriella Hoffman, Young America’s Foundation Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar and former chairwoman of UCSD YAF
“I had the opportunity to ask Professor Adams a question about how to address the Left’s narrative of gender fluidity, at YAF’s Raleigh Conference in 2019. Professor Adams showed us how to respond to the hypocrisy of the Left with humor, empowered us to speak out for our conservative beliefs, and defy administrators who sought to silence us. The news of his passing is so sad.” -Catriona Fee, vice-chairwoman of Catholic University Young Americans for Freedom
“Dr. Adams was a fearless freedom fighter and a dedicated advocate of free speech. His speeches at YAF really inspired me to be more dedicated in my mission to promote conservative values on campus. I’ll never forget everything he taught me, and I will always keep the knowledge he passed onto me and my fellow YAFers in my heart forever. RIP Dr. Adams, we will carry on your legacy.” –Rob Corn, former chairman of College of Lake County Young Americans for Freedom
“Mike Adams was an amazing man who will be sorely missed. When I was in high school, Mr. Adams was so kind to my family in giving advice on how I and my sister should consider our options for higher education. He is part of the reason why I am where I happen to be today, and was a great inspiration to my starting a YAF chapter in my hometown. I had the honor of meeting and speaking with Mike Adams at a YAF conference in 2019, prior to hearing his lecture, which will go down as one of my all-time favorites. Mr. Adams was a living example of Galatians 1:10 and Romans 1:16; he wasn’t ever afraid of men’s hatred, but always stood for the truth. I hope that someday I can be as brave a spokesperson for Truth and Freedom as Mr. Adams was.” –Lynn Sementilli, Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors
Rest in peace, Mike Adams.