Ask anyone who knew Chad V. Adams ’18, and you’ll be met with enthusiasm. He was a true friend, solid student and passionate fisherman. He loved the Lowcountry and was known to snap his fishing rod into the ski rack on top of his Mini Cooper and go catch, and then release, redfish. 

 An active member of the College of Charleston’s Honors College, Adams graduated with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and neuroscience. He embraced all the Honors College had to offer and took advantage of research opportunities at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the Department of Anesthesia at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He received biology departmental honors and the Outstanding Student Award his senior year and wore three medals at commencement. But perhaps one of his greatest joys was the brain lapel pin that he received from Honors College Dean Beth Meyer-Bernstein  

Chad Adams presenting his work at SYNAPSE

Chad Adams presenting his work at the SYNAPSE conference.

“Chad was in my neuroscience seminar his last semester,” says Meyer-Bernstein, who always takes her students to the annual Symposium for Young Neuroscientists and Professors of the SouthEast (SYNAPSE) conference. “It’s a very small, collaborative class. I give all the students a brain lapel pin and encourage them to wear it at graduation and in their future careers. It’s a great way to reflect back on a special experience.” 

Unfortunately, Adams’ life was cut short soon after graduation. To keep his memory alive, his parents, Drs. Van and Anne Adams, formed the Chad V. Adams ’18 Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is for graduating Honors College seniors with a focus on students who demonstrate a strong work ethic with excellence in science. As Adams hailed from Pennsylvania, the scholarship gives special consideration to out-of-state students who have been active participants in the activities, programs and the residential community of the Honors College. 

“Since I am a physician and Anne is a dentist, Chad saw a medical career as one that would be gratifying and rewarding,” says Adams’ father. “The scholarship seemed appropriate and something he would appreciate.” 

Meyer-Bernstein agrees and remembers when Adams’ friends organized a memorial in his honor at the School of Sciences and Mathematics.  

“It was clear they cherished his friendship,” she says. “Chad was a wonderful representative of what we want in Honors students — bright, generous, humble, empathetic. He made the Honors College a better place.” 

Maddie Davis ’21 is the first recipient of the Chad V. Adams ’18 Memorial Scholarship. A double major in biology and international studies with a concentration on Latin America and the Caribbean, Davis, who graduated in May, was a member of the Charleston Fellows program and the International Scholars Program. She fully embraced the many opportunities presented by the Honors College and campus as a whole, including undergraduate research, study abroad in Argentina, volunteering and Greek life. In short, Davis represents the model Honors College student — just like Adams. 

“I am really honored to have been chosen as the first scholarship recipient,” says Davis. “The fact that Chad’s family felt the need to support the next generation of biology students obviously shows that they care about continuing his legacy and the work that he was doing. I’m very proud to continue that legacy.” 

Davis’ interest is in nuclear transport — looking at how things get into and out of where our DNA is located. Upon graduation, she plans to take a gap year to work for a nonprofit helping people from Latin America and the Caribbean maneuver the U.S. health care system. Davis then plans to pursue a master of public health/registered dietician with a focus on health discrepancies.  

“I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me thanks to this scholarship and the Honors College, and the ways they have influenced me as a student, scientist, global citizen and future professional,” says Davis. “I have had the freedom to pursue all my passions. Being able to study hard sciences and international studies embodies what it means to have a liberal arts education. I know all of these experiences have prepared me for my career in the health field, where I will continue to try to make the world a better place and hopefully inspire future generations.”  

“I wish Chad had the opportunity to meet Maddie,” says Adams’ mother. “She represents what he liked about his Honors College classmates, and we hope she has a rewarding medical career.”