Harold L. Adams ’61
From the Exhibit: Distinguished Alumni
Year Awarded: 2011
Adams earned his bachelor’s degree in architectural design from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. As a student, he received the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for Outstanding Service to the School of Architecture and was active with the Student Conference on National Affairs.
After graduation from A&M, he worked for several architectural firms before joining RTKL Associates in Baltimore in 1967. He became president in 1968, CEO in 1971, and chairman of the board in 1987. He was one of the first Americans to hold a “first class Kenchikushi” (architecture) license, awarded by Japan’s Ministry of Construction, and he is a licensed architect in the United Kingdom. He served as chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows from 1997 to 1998, and founded and chaired for 17 years the AIA’s Large Firm Round Table. He worked with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy on the design of Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, helped select the site for Kennedy’s presidential library and was project director for the Kennedy gravesite memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and received its Kemper Medal in 1997.
He is a member of The Association of Former Students Century Club and on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Architecture. He has endowed three professorships and a scholarship at A&M and was the College of Architecture’s chairman for the One Spirit One Vision capital campaign. He also lectures at A&M each year. He was selected as an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture in 1998.
Mr. Adams is active in business, arts, education and civic organizations as chairman of the Board of Regents of the American Architectural Foundation, chairman and trustee of the National Building Museum and chairman of the Governor’s International Advisory Council. He has served as chairman of the board of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, chairman of the Design-Build Institute of America, and commissioner of the Maryland Economic Development Commission. He founded and has served for 20 years as chairman of the board of the World Trade Center Institute.
Adams and his wife, Janice, have four children, two of whom attended A&M, and 11 grandchildren.
“What I gained from Texas A&M that has been beneficial to me in my career and life is the positive thinking and the ‘we can conquer anything attitude.”