Norma Adams, retired lawyer and civic leader, will be the guest speaker at the 9th Annual John Sherman Cooper Lecture to be held in the Citizens National Bank Community Room of the Harold Rogers Student Commons located on the Somerset Campus of Somerset Community College on Tuesday, October 29, at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited. Refreshments will be served. The SCC Somerset North Campus is located at 808 Monticello Street in Somerset.
Norma Adams graduated from the University Of Kentucky College of Law in 1953. During her years as a law student she was a member of the Kentucky Law Journal Staff, serving as Business Manager (1951-1952 and Note Editor (1952- 1953). She married Attorney Charles Adams, and they established the law firm of Adams and Adams in Somerset in 1954. That firm has continued until the present – now Adams and Venters.
Adams served in many civic organizations in Somerset and on various boards – including the former Advisory Board of Somerset Community College and served as President of the University of Kentucky Law Alumni Association (1979-1980). She was the first woman nominated by the Judicial Nominating Committee for service on the Kentucky Supreme Court, and although she was not appointed and failed to win the election for that position, she values the experience of running a 28 county race. She was a member of the original Board of Directors of Leadership Kentucky.
An avid supporter of Education Reform in Kentucky, Adams has served as a member and director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence since 1985; director of the Advocates for Higher Education since 1989, serving as its Chair from 1994-1997 prior to the passage of the Higher Education Reform Act. She served as a member and Chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education and a member of the Higher Education Nominating Committee. She also served as the Public Member of The Executive Committee of SACS (The Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools).
Her friendship with Senator and Mrs. Cooper began through her close friendship with Senator Cooper’s sister-in-law, Cornelia Cooper, and his brother, the late Richard E. Cooper, who have been avid supporters of Somerset Community College.
After the death of her husband and many good friends, Norma moved back to Lexington to enjoy her remaining college friends. She says that although she grew up in Western Kentucky and now lives in Lexington, Somerset will always be her home. She has four children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
About John Sherman Cooper
Cooper was born in Somerset on August 23, 1901. He graduated from public schools. He attended Centre College in Danville, but graduated from Yale College in 1923. Cooper attended Harvard Law School from 1923-1925, admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1928 and then set up his law practice in Somerset.
Cooper was elected to the Kentucky Legislature in 1928. He served as judge of Pulaski County from 1930 to 1938. Cooper was a veteran and served in World War II and rose to the rank of captain in the Army. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946 and served until 1949. He was elected to the Senate a second time from 1952 to 1955. On Nov. 6, 1956 Cooper was elected a third time to the Senate and was reelected in 1960 and 1966. His Senate service ended on January 3, 1973 when he declined to run for reelection.
Cooper was also a member of the board of trustees of the University of Kentucky from 1935-1946, served as a delegate to the United Nations, and was appointed
Ambassador to India, Nepal and the German Democratic Republic. He died on February 21, 1991 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The inaugural Cooper Lecture was given by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell in
August 2005. At that time McConnell said, “One of the greatest senators in Kentucky history, and certainly the greatest of my adult lifetime, is John Sherman Cooper. He stood fast for what he believed was right, no matter how large the opposition or great the cost. He taught me how to be a senator. And he taught everyone who knew him the value of integrity, forthrightness and moral character.”