Student Success

“Teaching is giving”

John Adams, CAS '68, and Oscar Hernandez are supporting the next generation of teachers

John Adams and Oscar Hernandez stand next to each other

John Adams, CAS '68, (left) and Oscar Hernandez (right) are supporting the next generation of teachers.


icon of a calendarNovember 20, 2019

icon of a pencilBy Jennifer Hogan

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John Adams, CAS ’68, has fond memories of his time at Oakland University. Transferring from a community college as a junior, Adams recalls the profound impact OU faculty made in his life. 

“The quality of the professors was amazing,” says Adams. “Everyone truly cared about my experience.” 

One such professor, Marilyn Williamson, was Adams’ Shakespeare teacher and adviser. Adams says that Williamson and he created a plan for his next two years. Both her kindness and superb teaching confirmed Adams’ decision to pursue his 34 year career teaching English at Edsel Ford High School and Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan. 

“When students ask me if they should go into teaching, I always tell them to do it,” says Adams. “If you are a teacher, you have to teach. It’s a calling.” 

To help future teachers with their education, Adams and his husband, Oscar Hernandez, made a bequest to establish the John L. Adams and Oscar R. Hernandez Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit English majors in the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), where students can earn a bachelor of arts degree and complete additional requirements leading to recommendation for teacher certification. 

Kevin Laam, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the English department, says the scholarship will make an important difference in the lives of students preparing to become high school teachers. 

“Our students are balancing jobs, family responsibilities and the rigors of STEP,” says Laam. “The John L. Adams and Oscar R. Hernandez Scholarship acknowledges the hard work our students put into the program and how they will serve the community following graduation.” 

For Adams, the gift embodies his philosophy about teaching. “Teaching is giving,” says Adams. “It is important to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers.” 

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