2014 Tillman Scholar

Adam Mathes

Emory University
Ph.D., Historical Studies

“Throughout deployments, I became aware of the damage sustained from trying to persevere in the absence of spiritual groundings.”

Adam joined the Marine Corps and became an Infantry Officer out of a deep sense of duty to country and a desire for challenge. Three combat deployments later—to Fallujah in 2004, Haditha in 2005, and the SURGE in 2007—he became acutely aware of the limitations of his willpower and the damage he sustained from trying to persevere in the absence of spiritual groundings. A Navy Chaplain came to him when he was in this dry and desolate place and gave him hope good news and a new sense of orientation.

After resigning from the Marines, Adam floundered in the civilian world, seeking profit from a business, legitimacy for personal suffering, and an anchor for his newfound life out of uniform. A church and caring pastor provided him with a new sense of community and purpose. His wife stabilized his unfettered heart and secured for them a home in a relentless world. A professor inspired his intellectual faculties and became his mentor, Ph.D. advisor, and unbending exactor of excellence. With time his children became his maturity. Family became bearers of an inspired word; a distant General became a close confidant; the beauty becomes richer seven-, ten-, and even twenty-fold. He was overwhelmed with gratitude for the occasions of grace and influences of others that remind him that his life is not his own.

Adam is a Ph.D. candidate in Historical Studies in Religion and Theology at Emory University, concentrating on Modern European Intellectual History and Philosophical Theology. He has served as a Navy Chaplain and remains a Marine Infantry Officer in the USMC Reserve.