Thurman Adkins M’69, J.D., former assistant vice president for Student Affairs, died on Aug. 5, 2023. He was 88. Adkins served Trinity University from 1965-99.
Born, mostly raised, and educated in Texas, Adkins earned his undergraduate degree in history and subsequently added two master’s degrees (one from Trinity) before starting work on a Ph.D. While he retained a deep interest in history, Adkins didn’t relish the thought of sitting in libraries doing historical research. Thus, he pursued and completed a law degree from St. Mary’s University instead. Adkins began his professional career teaching history at New Braunfels High School, then moved to San Antonio to teach at MacArthur High School and San Antonio College. In 1965, when Trinity offered him an opportunity to mentor students as coordinator of student activities, Adkins accepted without hesitation.
Adkins served in Trinity’s Student Affairs/Student Life division from 1965 until his retirement in 1999. Though his job title varied over the years due to division reorganizations (his longest-lasting title being assistant dean of students), his work was always as an adviser to student organizations and activities and as an administrative liaison between student government and the university’s administration. He retired with collective appreciation for his personal integrity, fair-minded leadership, and calm demeanor.
Every spring, Trinity recognizes student leaders with the Thurman Adkins "Unsung Hero" Award. This award recognizes students who have demonstrated loyalty and unselfish devotion to their communities through significant yet uncelebrated contributions. Like Adkins, these students go above and beyond the call of duty and work behind the scenes to create change.
Outside of Trinity, Adkins served University Presbyterian Church in many forms, including as a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, a trustee, and an elder, most often working on committees having to do with stewardship and finance. He was most happy working behind the scenes to be sure that things were well organized, adequately financed, and done “decently and in order” in good Presbyterian fashion. Adkins also served on the boards of the church’s Children’s Center and the SoL (Source of Light) Center. For a number of years, he also served as the assistant treasurer for Mission Presbytery.
Adkins was married for 55 years to Sue (Hampe) Adkins, who predeceased him in 2012. He is survived by their daughter Julie ’82, of Waxahachie; son and daughter-in-law John ’84 (Byron) and Michele Adkins of Austin; grandchildren Lee, Landon, and Nicholas Reese of St. Louis and Austin; sister and brother-in-law Lynda ’64 and Gene Stephenson of Austin; companion and very dear friend Maureen Nowotny; and many other family and like-family members of various Adkins, Hampe, Stephenson, Patterson, Nowotny, and Bernal clans, not to mention many years’ worth of friends and colleagues.
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2023, at 2 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church, 300 Bushnell Ave., San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to: University Presbyterian Church, 300 Bushnell Ave., San Antonio, 78212; Trinity University (Office of Advancement), 1 Trinity Place #49, San Antonio, 78212; or the Animal Defense League, 11300 Nacogdoches Rd., San Antonio, 78217.
Thank you to the Adkins family and R. Douglas Brackenridge for their significant contributions to this obituary.