University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 2/1996
For the good of the state

     If you're traveling down a Delaware highway and are grateful
you can turn right on a red light, thank Thurman Adams, Delaware
'50. And, if you're traveling too fast and are stopped for
speeding-you may have reason to thank Adams again.
     As a member of the Delaware Senate for the past 24 years,
Adams sponsored a bill that allows right-on-red-after-stop turns
and one that allows motorists to mail in their traffic fines
instead of having to appear in court immediately.
     "I've always tried to introduce legislation that would be
good for the whole state, not just a small portion of it," Adams
says. "I hope that every bill will make life better."
     One bill designed to do just that is the enhanced 9-1-1 bill
that Adams sponsored a few years ago. The bill provided an
emergency network in the state that is able to trace the location
of an incoming call. Stroke victims, for example, suddenly unable
to talk, can have their location ascertained if they dial "E"
before they dial 9-1-1. The system has similar capabilities for
tracing bomb threats, Adams says.
     "I told them when I introduced this bill on the floor that
it would be one of our most important pieces of legislation
because it would save someone's life," he recalls.
     Adams has seen many changes in Delaware government since his
early days when, as a member of the Highway Commission, he
watched then President John F. Kennedy officially open Interstate
95 (which runs through the northern part of the First State) just
eight days before his assassination.
     For the past 20 years, Adams has served on the Senate
Executive Committee, the first stop for governmental appointments
that need Senate confirmation, including judges, magistrates and
University trustees.
     A strong supporter of the agricultural community, Adams also
has chaired the Senate agricultural committee for two decades.
His feed and grain business, T.G. Adams & Sons Inc., is on the
family's 220-acre farm in Bridgeville, Del., where Adams and his
father were born. Adams rents additional land for a total of
1,600 double-cropped acres on which he grows some of the corn,
beans, wheat and barley used in the business.
     Adams, who has served seven terms, is a Democrat, but he
makes it a point not to ask the party affiliation of any
     "I have no idea what the party affiliation is of most of the
people who call me. It has never made a difference in the way I
respond. People know they can (and they do) call me seven days a
week. I always try to be available. I tell new legislators it's
one of the most important things: 'Even if a concern seems
trivial to you, remember, it's important to them. Legislators
aren't the ones to judge the importance of a concern. If you can
help someone, do it.'"
     Adams says he became interested in politics while at UD,
where he was active in student government. He also was a member
of UD's first lacrosse team, before it was a varsity sport.
     He met his wife, the former Hilda McCabe, Delaware '53, at
his senior-year farewell dance. One daughter, Lynn Adams Slater
Kokjohn, also graduated from the University. His other children
include a son, Brent, who runs the feed business with his father,
and a daughter, Polly, who lives with her family on the home
     On May 26, Adams will receive the University's Medal of
Distinction, during the College of Agricultural Sciences
Convocation ceremony. The Medal of Distinction, awarded by the
Board of Trustees, recognizes outstanding professional
                                                -Beth Thomas