Adkins ’81 Inducted into Georgia Tech’s Engineering Hall of Fame

April 22, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Rodney Adkins ’81 has been inducted into Georgia Tech’s engineering alumni hall of fame, which honors those who have achieved major engineering milestones in their professional careers.

Rollins alum and trustee Rodney Adkins ’81

Rodney Adkins ’81 is among those honored with induction into Georgia Tech’s Engineering Alumni Hall of Fame, which recognizes successful alumni who have reached the highest levels of achievement in their professional endeavors and who are committed to maintaining the highest standards of their profession.

Adkins—who graduated from Rollins with a physics and pre-engineering degree—received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1981 followed by a master’s degree in 1983 from Georgia Tech. With a career spanning nearly 40 years, he broke barriers as the first African American corporate officer and senior vice president of development and manufacturing at IBM, where he was instrumental in helping develop the IBM ThinkPad, one of the world’s first laptop computers.

Black Enterprise magazine named Adkins one of the 100 Most Powerful Executives (2009) and Corporate Executive of the Year (2011), and in 2002, Fortune magazine named Adkins one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America.

Following his retirement from IBM, Adkins became president of 3RAM Group, a business consulting firm specializing in investment and real estate. He is also chairman of Avnet, Inc. and received the Rollins Alumni Achievement Award in 2013.

Adkins has served on the College’s Board of Trustees since 2014. He worked with fellow trustee Gerald Ladner ’81 to mentor Class of 2020 graduating Black Student Union members as part of the Share the Light alumni campaign and the Class of 2020 Jobs Challenge initiative.

Adkins and his wife are founding donors of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. He also served as a trustee of the Georgia Institute of Technology and as a member of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution.

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