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Alumna’s love of education inspires scholarship for Fulbright students

~News Release from UA Little Rock~

A gift in memory of the late Mary Jane See Adamson will support students studying English and honor a lifelong passion for education.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – To all who knew and loved her, University of Arkansas alumna and lifelong education advocate Mary Jane See Adamson was sui generis, or in a class by herself. And after being a guiding light for her family and hundreds of students, her husband and children wanted to memorialize her for generations to come by establishing a scholarship in her name.

Thanks to a $200,000 gift from her husband, Dr. James Adamson of Little Rock and her three children, Leslie Sogandares of Reston, Virginia; Jim Adamson III of Little Rock and Paige Westbrook of Birmingham,the Mary Jane See Adamson Scholarship Endowment has been established in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences to benefit students in the Department of English.

“This gift reflects her strong feelings for the benefits that can be gained from a broad college education, her love for the University of Arkansas and the education she received during her four years as an undergraduate student,” said Dr. Adamson.

Mary Jane See Adamson was born in Little Rock but spent most of her pre-collegiate years in Marianna. She enrolled as a freshman at the U of A in 1954, following her brother, Jack F. See Jr., who came to the university in 1953.

Adamson majored in English and earned her degree in 1958, ranking first in the senior class and first in the College of Arts and Sciences in both semesters of her senior year. She received several academic recognitions, including membership in Alpha Lambda Delta, the freshman honorary society; Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honorary fraternity, where she served as president; and Lambda Iota Tau, the honorary English fraternity. Her most cherished recognition was membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest national honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States. Her achievement was marked with congratulatory letters from Senator J. William Fulbright and Congressman E.C. “Took” Gathings, the congressional representative from east Arkansas at the time.

Mary Jane See Adamson – who went by Jane – met James Adamson two months after graduating from the U of A. Her career as a middle school English teacher took her first to Memphis and then back to Little Rock. Later, she participated as a tutor in the first volunteer reading program in the Little Rock School District at Gibbs Elementary and then at Forest Park and Pulaski Heights elementary schools.

The three Adamson children shared their mother’s devotion to education and each pursued advanced degrees.

“We were married for almost 57 years, and our three children and I wanted to honor her in a way we thought would bring lasting recognition to her life,”  Adamson said.

The Mary Jane See Adamson Scholarship Endowment will benefit undergraduate English majors who are residents of Arkansas, demonstrate financial need and carry a G.P.A. of at least 3.0.

“Being able to honor such an amazing woman as Mary Jane See Adamson while seeing her family forward this lasting legacy of education is inspiring,” said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. “We are grateful for their generosity, and so proud to call Jane an alumna.”

“She was our rock, our compass, our tugboat, our guiding light,” Dr. Adamson said. “We are very pleased to establish this award and hope those who receive it will give a brief thought to the wonderful woman for whom it is named.”

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