From making 50 cold calls per day as a young municipal bond salesman to becoming president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Kirk Adams '83 shared his inspirational life trajectory with other Whitties during a campus lecture late last month. The college's chapter of Delta Gamma women's fraternity arranged his visit; the Delta Gamma Foundation's national philanthropy, Service for Sight, is a longstanding AFB partner. To honor the occasion, Adams wore a tie decorated with anchors, the main symbol in Delta Gamma's logo.
Adams, who majored in economics, and his wife Roslyn '83, who majored in French and Spanish, had not been back to Walla Walla since he addressed their graduating class during Commencement 34 years ago. Reminiscing about the remarks he delivered then as class speaker, Adams joked: "I'm only about half as nervous tonight. I have a little more public speaking under my belt." The talk spanned topics close to Adams's heart, such as employment and educational accessibility for people who are blind; in particular, he discussed driverless cars as a potential game changer, provided future legislation is inclusive of the blind and visually impaired, he said.
On a personal note, Adams, who was featured in the winter 2017 issue of Whitman Magazine, felt nostalgic walking through Olin Hall, where he once took a Shakespeare course, and sampling the local Ice-Burg Drive-In's blackberry milkshake, which he deemed "deliciously unchanged." Next up on the Whitman itinerary, he and his wife hope to meet with Dale Penrose Harrell '59, daughter of Stephen Penrose '28. Harrell, who read the profile of Adams in Whitman Magazine, wrote in to detail Helen Keller's connection to the college, and the Adamses were pleased to learn that Harrell also lives in Virginia, where they now reside.