A Marriage Made at Wilkes

Paul and Jean Reiter Adams
Paul Adams was homesick during his first year at Wilkes.

“I thought about leaving. ‘Oh, man,’ I thought. ‘Maybe this isn’t for me,’ ” Paul recalls. Paired with a senior electrical engineering student, Simon Davos, for a roommate, Adams made it through his first year.

When he returned the next fall, still wondering if Wilkes was the right place, he visited his roommate’s girlfriend in Catlin Hall. It was there that he met her new roommate, Jean Reiter, a freshman from Emerson, N.J. “And that was it: case closed,” says Paul with a chuckle. There was no more talk of homesickness or of leaving Wilkes.

Jean doesn’t remember every detail of that meeting, but she does remember Paul made a positive impression.

“I just remember thinking that he stood out. Something about him set him apart from others. Maybe it was his quiet reserve,” she says. Their first date was seeing the movie “Airport ’77.”

Since that fall day 48 years ago, Paul Adams and Jean Reiter Adams have spent most of their days together. And most of their days together have been spent at Wilkes. When Paul returned to Wilkes to become director of residence life in 1979, Jean followed, also working on the residence life team. Sharing that experience would be helpful later, Paul says.

“We always say it was probably a blessing that Jean had that experience working in student affairs with me because it really helped her understand the lifestyle that our family would have to lead the course of the years. It allowed her to appreciate, understand and tolerate it,” Paul says. “There can be a lot of unpredictability in the life of the student affairs administrator. We always said that at any given moment, there are 2,000 young people on campus who can take you down a path you never knew you were going down.”

The couple married on June 7, 1980. They lived on campus for the first six years of their marriage and eventually moved to nearby Kingston. Their daughter Lindsay was born on December 21, 1989. Their second child, Caroline, was born on April 27, 1995.

Wilkes would be a family affair throughout the girls’ childhoods, as they attended many events and spent time on campus. Jean found her niche teaching pottery in the Wilkes fine arts department. In the decade leading up to her retirement, she could be found firing the kiln adjacent to Bedford Hall for her students’ work as well as her own.

“I have considered being a part of everyday Wilkes for four-plus decades a blessing,” Jean says. “We truly have a Wilkes Family that we will always be grateful for. Working at Wilkes enabled me to teach my passion (pottery) from 1985 until retiring.”

Paul adds, “I feel very blessed that Wilkes gave us an opportunity to create a life for our family that has positioned them very positively, to get their educations at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to be off to successful careers.”

The Adamses have already introduced their family’s next generation to Wilkes: Their new grandson Jack accompanied them to the event kicking off the campaign to name the Henry Student Center Ballroom in their honor at Homecoming 2022.

Wilkes begins the Henry Student Center ballroom renovations in honor of Jean ’78 and Paul Adams ’77
During Homecoming Weekend, a kickoff celebration was held for the renovation of the Henry Student Center ballroom in honor of Jean and Paul Adams. Get involved! Show your appreciation for Jean and Paul’s 43 years of service to Wilkes University by making a gift in support of this important project that will modernize the facility and make it more accessible to guests.

Find out more and give today at wilkes.edu/adams.

Paul and Jean at Homecoming in 2022.
Paul and Jean at Homecoming in 2022.
Paul and Jean at Homecoming in 2022.