Purdue News

2005 Honorary Degree

Robert V. Adams
Doctor Of Engineering

Robert V. Adams

Robert V. Adams has distinguished himself as a visionary and leader in the area of developing products and technologies that have had an impact on the information age.

He is currently the chairman of Adams Capital Management and lives in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., but most of his career was with Xerox Corporation and Xerox Technology Ventures.

Born and raised in Hammond, Ind., Adams came to Purdue and earned his bachelor of science degree in 1954. He enrolled at the University of Chicago, earning his MBA in 1960 while working as an engineering manager for Inland Steel.

Adams joined Xerox Corporation in 1965. He held 10 different positions in 24 years at Xerox, becoming a key architect in the company's pioneering strategy in the fields of electronic printing, desktop publishing and document management before taking early retirement in 1989 as executive vice president.

Next, he became president and chief executive officer of Xerox Technology Ventures. Under Adams' leadership, many technological innovations that had been dormant within Xerox were transformed into ideas related to aspects of computer-based printing and document and information management into profitable products and services. The company was successful at identifying potential spinouts and joint ventures for Xerox Research and Development. In 1998, this venture ended its 10-year planned life and returned $300 million to Xerox. At peak activity, there were 11 companies, two as spinouts.

Adams also has been heavily involved in community and professional service. He was a trustee for the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History and the National Historic Association and a member of the advisory boards for the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California.

He is president of the Adams Family Foundation, which focuses on care for abused and abandoned children.

He is also a member of Purdue’s College of Engineering Visiting Committee and was honored as a Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumnus in 1983 and received the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award at Purdue in 1991.