Adjunct Professor Jim Helms, R'74, earns emeritus status

September 23, 2020

Over the summer, the University of Richmond Board of Trustees granted emeritus status to long-time adjunct professor Jim Helms, R’74.

Helms worked at the University of Richmond a remarkable 45 years upon his retirement in 2020. He began his teaching career at University College in 1975 and served the School in all its transitions until his last class in 2019. His specialty was inspiring in his students enhanced communication skills in courses such as Interpersonal Communication, Group Communication, and Business and Professional Speech. He was especially valued as a personal counselor to University athletes as they broadened their communication expertise in preparation for professional life. 

Helms retired from the University effective in the spring 2020. He has been awarded the title of Adjunct Professor Emeritus.

The University of Richmond Faculty Handbook outlines the process by which emeritus status is awarded.

A faculty or administrative staff member who has served the University with distinction for 20 years or more, and who remains on active status until retirement, will normally be awarded the title of “Emeritus” upon recommendation by the President, by action of the Board of Trustees. The Board may, at its discretion, award emeritus status to particularly deserving retirees who have served less than 20 years.

SPCS Dean Jamelle Wilson recommended to Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Jeff Legro that Helms receive emeritus status. Provost Legro, in turn, recommended both to the Board of Trustees.

In Dean Wilson’s letters of recommendation, she highlighted Helms’ distinguished service to the school. She wrote:

His concern for his students could be seen not only in the popularity of his class offerings, but also in testimonials from students through the years attesting to his classroom proficiency and his personal empathy exhibited toward both traditional and non-traditional students.

Highlights of Helms’ professional and academic career include the following:

  • Bachelor of Arts earned at the University of Richmond in 1974.
  • Master’s degree in commmunications earned at American University in 1975.
  • Received the Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award in 1993 and 1999.
  • Served as faculty advisor to SPCS Student Government Association, 2008-2010.
  • Served as president and co-owner of Telecom Management Group.

The faculty and staff of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies are proud to honor Helms for his decades of service to the University of Richmond.