Thomas William Adams, a former director in Penn’s English Language Programs who also taught at GSE, died from cancer on October 21 at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He was 67.
Dr. Adams was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and he graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1973, where he majored in French. In 1974, he joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Togo, West Africa. Returning to the US in 1976, Dr. Adams pursued an MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Temple University. After graduating in 1977, he took a position with Bell Helicopter International in Iran, where he taught English to helicopter pilots and support crews serving in the Imperial Iranian Army. He went on to teach TESOL/ESL at Harvard, Philadelphia College of Art, and Temple University. In 1980, he took a position in Saudi Arabia as a lecturer at what was then the University of Petroleum and Minerals.
In 1987, Dr. Adams began teaching at Penn’s English Language Programs as a language specialist and rose through several coordinator and director positions before retiring from the program in 2007. While with ELP, he enrolled in Penn’s Graduate School of Education, graduating in 1998 from the Educational Linguistics PhD program. He went on to serve as an instructor, part-time lecturer and finally an adjunct associate professor with GSE until his retirement in 2012. In GSE’s Educational Linguistics program, he taught Structure of English and Fieldwork in TESOL. He was awarded a citation by GSE for outstanding teaching in 1996.
He published Body English; Inside Textbooks—What Students Need to Know and co-authored Attitudes Through Idioms. He joined Penn’s 25-Year Club in 2012.
He is survived by his partner, David C. Scheller; sisters, Joann Adams Eberle (Howard) and Barb (Diane L. Easley); and many cousins.