By Claudia Zuniga/ Staff Reporter
Larry Adams sat in his home a few blocks from Amarillo College and adjusted a mountain of papers on the side table next to his recliner. He had been grading papers by the students that he teaches at AC, working on a law case for one of his clients and finalizing details on the home he is remodeling.
“I’ve been keeping myself busy,” Adams said as he muted the basketball game on the TV.
Larry Adams has been a professor at AC for 20 years and is also a practicing lawyer. However, he didn’t start off his adult career thinking he was going to become a lawyer and professor. He started as a police officer in Amarillo in 1984. During his five year career as a police officer, Adams received the Carver award for graduating top of his class in the academy, he received several commendations for work above and beyond and also received the life saving award.
“Before I went through the police academy I didn’t feel like I could be successful in college, and then when I went through the police academy I did really well and I was finally determined to do something and the confidence to do it, so I thought I would go back to school,” said Adams.
Adams began attending AC and transferred to West Texas A&M University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1989. He moved his family to Austin to attend the University of Texas Law School. During his third year of law school he began teaching as a teacher’s assistant.
“I’ve always liked teaching. It was something that I was good at and my professors recognized that and that is why I was selected to be one of the teacher’s assistants,” he said.
His interest in teaching was ignited in law school. “When I was in law school I thought about teaching but I didn’t really seriously think that I would be able to it, but when I was able too I felt very fortunate, especially being at Amarillo College,” Adams said.
Adams graduated from law school in 1992 and eventually chose to come back to the city he used to serve as a police officer. “When I went to law school and moved to Austin I thought that I would probably go to a big city like Dallas or Houston and work in a big law firm, but I worked in those big cities and law firms in between my years in law school and didn’t really like living in the big cities. I realized I had support, family friends, contacts in Amarillo that would help me with whatever I chose to do. Also it’s a great place to raise a family.”
Adams is a father to three and a grandfather to one. During his college career he balanced work, school and being a husband and father. “There are a lot of students at the Amarillo College that are juggling work and family and it can be really difficult, and I understand because I experienced it firsthand, so I’m very proud of those students,” he said.
Adams continues to practice law along with teaching and he decided to add another accomplishment to his list by getting his masters in history at West Texas A&M University in 2006. “I went to college and I guess I never stopped,” said Adams.
With all of the big accomplishments under his belt, Adams relishes in the small ones that come from teaching his students, “It’s always when students come back and they’ve had other successes and they thank you for being a part of their educational journey. I mean I don’t think it’s with any one particular event. It always has to do with students and seeing their successes,” Adams said.