Photo Courtesy of The Malibu Times
In 1968, the Adamson family donated the land on which stands Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus. Today, the Adamson name remains recognizable in Malibu and Pepperdine, and the death of Grant Adamson has shaken the community.
Grant, a founding member of the University’s Crest Board, was killed in a hot air balloon crash on Aug. 6 in Montbovan, Switzerland. Adamson’s wife, Terry, and their two daughters, Lauren and Megan, also in the balloon, were critically injured in the crash. Terry is a professor and a distinguished jurist in residence at the School of Law.
As the hot air balloon descended for an 8:35 a.m. landing, it struck a power line and fell 165 feet to the ground. Grant, 55, reportedly died at the scene. Terry and her daughters were transported by helicopter to hospitals in Bern and Lausanne, according to World News on NBC.
Terry, also 55, and their two daughters suffered life-threatening injuries. The pilot, Christian Dupuy, 65, was also injured and transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. According to the Grand Hotel Park’s media kit, Dupuy had acquired 110 hours of recorded flight time as of Dec. 2010. The kit also says that Dupuy is “obsessed with safety.” Swiss authorities have opened an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Grant and Terry’s daughters underwent medical treatment following the crash. Lauren, 24, underwent two back surgeries, and Megan, 20, had surgery for unspecified injuries. Within 48 hours of the accident, Terry underwent both back and jaw surgery. She reportedly asked a close friend to call the School of Law to confirm that Professor Harry Caldwell would cover her classes this fall. Grant’s wife and daughters are expected to make full physical recoveries. In the meantime, they are staying in a Swiss hospital.
The First Family
Grant was a descendant of the Adamson family, famously known as Malibu’s first family. “If there were royalty in Malibu, it would be the Adamsons,” Malibu Mayor Joan House said in an interview with NBC Los Angeles. In 1968, the Adamson family presented Pepperdine with the land to construct the Malibu campus. The multimillion dollar gift was made by members of the Rindge and Adamson families.
Grant aided students through mentoring programs. He hosted students for social events and participated with resume reviews.
“I have overwhelming sadness at the loss of Grant … They [the Adamsons] were planning on visiting Pepperdine’s Lausanne campus today [Aug. 6] … and he didn’t make it,” said Heidi Bernard, executive director of the University’s Crest Associates. “He had a passion for helping students.”
President Andrew K. Benton shared a closed friendship with Grant for nearly 30 years and described him as “one of my best friends in Malibu.” Benton wrote in an email to the Graphic, “He was a gentle and generous friend and, like his father, one of the finest outdoorsmen I have ever known. I have sailed with him, ridden the Malibu canyons on horses with him, hunted upland birds and duck with him and on and on … He and his family have been in our home, and Debby and I have been in theirs. We were friends, and friends share losses like this one.”
Grant and Terry Adamson’s daughters both attend Pepperdine. Lauren attends the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and Megan attends Seaver College.
“I intend to be present in the lives of his wife and his daughters in the same way he would have done for me. I am profoundly saddened by his passing,” Benton wrote.
As published in the Aug. 26, 2013 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.
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