Adam W. Herbert


Bicentennial Medal (2020)
University Medal (2007)
Farewell Tribute and Reception
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Presenter: Stephen L. Ferguson


Herbert was born in Muskogee, Okla., in 1943, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Southern California in 1966. He continued his education at USC, earning his master of public administration degree a year later. Herbert earned his doctor of philosophy degree in urban affairs and public administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971.

He began his professional career as a faculty member in the USC School of Public Administration and the Center for Urban Affairs. He moved to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1972, serving as the chair of the urban affairs program and associate professor of urban affairs. He was named one of 15 White House Fellows in 1974 and served as special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and then to the U.S. Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development. Following positions at the Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington, D.C., and a return to Virginia Tech as professor of public administration and as the first director of Northern Virginia Programs for the University's Center for Public Administration and Policy, Herbert joined the Florida university system. He accepted appointment in 1979 as professor of public administration at Florida International University in Miami, and from that time until 1989 also held various posts as dean of the School of Public Affairs and Services, associate vice president for academic affairs and vice president of the North Miami campus.

He began his role as president of the University of North Florida in 1989 and served as the president of there for nearly 10 years, from 1989 to 1998. From 1998 to 2001, Herbert led the nation's second-largest university system, serving as the sixth chancellor of the State University System of Florida. He oversaw a higher education system with a $5 billion budget and 250,000 students. Herbert is the founding director of The Florida Center for Public Policy and Leadership, which focuses interdisciplinary research efforts on important public policy challenges in the state. Among issues at the forefront of the center's work are public education, criminal justice, the study of children and families, the environment and health care.

Herbert also has held a number of local and national leadership positions, including president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. He also was elected to membership in the National Academy of Public Administration and has served two terms as a member of its board. He was a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in 2001 and previously served as chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II Presidents Council. He served as the chair of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce in 1993. In addition, he chaired the transition team for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 1998 and was co-chair of Gov. Bush's Reading Priority Transition Team for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002-03.

August 1, 2003 began Herbert's tenure at IU when he was elected as the 17th president. A professor at heart, he brought to the presidency the discipline's approach, with a focus on organizational structures and processes. He helped define regional-campus missions, got faculty to agree to general-education requirements, improved credit-transfer options between campuses and with Ivy Tech Community College, and advanced internal operations and eliminated a budget deficit in the athletics department. When his presidency ended in 2007, many colleagues, trustees, and faculty praised him as a leader of warmth and graciousness who made important changes at IU. In 2020, Herbert was awarded the Bicentennial Medal for his distinguished contributions to the university while serving as president.