Skip to content

afesaDr. Afesa Marie Adams, Ph.D.

1936 - 2018

Afesa Marie Adams, mother, daughter, sister, niece, grandmother, great grandmother and dear friend passed away on May 6, 2018.  She was a leader in our departmental and university diversity efforts. 

 Afesa Adams received a B.A. in Psychology from Weber State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from The University of Utah. She has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Florida, The University of Utah, and the University of North Florida. She was a Senior Research Associate for the Florida Institute of Education and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of North Florida.

Here at the University of Utah, Dr. Adams is known as an inspirational educator and leader. She helped pioneer the transition of Home Economics to the contemporary Family and Consumer Studies Department. As Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, she initiated the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Days of Remembrance activities. She was at the forefront in establishing the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) consortium whose purpose is to increase the number of under-represented women and minorities in those fields. She was active in community affairs and held leadership positions on the governing boards of many nonprofit organizations.

Afesa was born to Eddie and Annie Adams on February 20, 1936 in Greenwood, Mississippi.  At the age of 6 her parents and family moved to Salt Lake City. Afesa grew up and married Augustus Bell and they had five children.  She worked at Clearfield Job Corps while she completed her bachelor's degree at Weber State University.  Then she went on to complete her Masters and Ph.D. at the University of Utah.

In 1975 Afesa, three children, and soon to be husband Allan Nathaniel moved to Gainesville, Florida where she was a professor in the Department of Psychology.  Afesa and Allan returned to Utah where Afesa was Chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and then became the Associate Vice President for Academic Affiars, the first position at the University that held responsiblity for diversity on campus.

In 1987, Afesa returned to Jacksonville, Florida to serve as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Univeristy of North Florida.  In February 2011, Afesa received the University of Utah Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.  Afesa retired in 2013 after serving eight years as Senior Research Associate at Florida Institute of Education. Afesa received Professor Emieritus at both the University of Utah and University of North Florida. 

Afesa's greatest love was her family.  She was closely and lovingly connected to all of her family members and gave valuable counsel to all, wanted or not.  She was also very connect to her friends and colleagues.  Afesa was preceded in death by her father and mother, twin sons, two husbands, one daughter Suzanne (Rickey), sister, aunts, uncles, and friends.  She is survived by two sons Steven (Beverly), David (Teri), brothers Henry and Charles, 4 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, nephews, nieces and extended family.


Afesa Adams Obituary - Salt Lake City, UT | Deseret News

Last Updated: 6/4/21