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J. Michael Adams, 64, retired president of Fairleigh Dickinson University

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Updated: July 23, 2012 7:58AM

TEANECK, N.J. — J. Michael Adams, president of Fairleigh Dickinson University for more than a decade before announcing his retirement last month, died Thursday. He was 64.

Mr. Adams went on medical leave in the fall after being stricken with a blood disorder, and the university said he underwent a bone marrow transplant in February that was unsuccessful. He was later diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. A university spokesman said he died at the Morristown Medical Center.

Mr. Adams took over as the private university’s sixth president in 1999.

Under his leadership the school increased enrollment; established a new campus in Vancouver, Canada; dedicated $135 million to new facilities and campus improvements; and created new identities for the New Jersey campuses, the Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck and the College at Florham in Madison.

Before coming to FDU he was academic dean of the Nesbitt College of Design Arts at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and a professor at the State University of New York at Oswego. He earned a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in 1976.

“Our entire university owes an enormous debt to this great leader, and we will never forget how much he did and how much he meant to us,” said Sheldon Drucker, who served as acting president during Mr. Adams’ leave and will serve as interim president until a permanent successor is appointed.

Mr. Adams is survived by his wife, Susan, and three children.

The university said a visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. June 28 in Lenfell Hall, located at Hennessy Hall, at the Madison campus. A university-wide memorial will be held in the fall.


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