Inaugural 'Graduates of Distinction' Revealed

The inaugural class of the Midlakes High School Graduates of Distinction has been selected. The Graduate of Distinction Program was established for the main purpose of recognizing alumni of Midlakes High School who have achieved distinction through outstanding accomplishments or lifetime achievements and sharing these with the collective community.  This program serves to honor alumni contributions and to inspire current and future Midlakes students.

Congratulations to our inaugural class: Joel Adams, the founder of Adams Capital Management located in Pennsylvania; Patrick Lindner, Chief Operating Officer of the W.L. Gore Corporation of Delaware; Dr. William Robert Fulton, the Chief of Staff of the NorthBay Health Organization in California; and Joy Wilkes, a retired fourth grade teacher from the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District. 

Joel Adams

Joel Adams is a 1975 graduate of Midlakes who went on to attend SUNY Buffalo and earned a degree in Nuclear Engineering.  He received his Master’s degree with Distinction in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In 1994, he founded Adams Capital Management and has raised $815 million of capital since inception. 

Joel has been a General Partner in nine early-stage venture capital funds for over thirty years. Prior to venture capital, he served for seven years as a nuclear test engineer for General Dynamics where he managed chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering teams and directed nuclear power plant sea trials. 

Joel is a member of several boards and charitable organizations. He is a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Investment Committee at CMU. He is a frequently requested speaker on the topic of venture capital at several universities.  In 2015, Joel was named to the Top 50 “Most Influential People in Pittsburgh” and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. He also received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni award from the CMU’s Tepper School of Business. 

Patrick Lindner

Patrick Lindner is a 1988 graduate of Midlakes who went on to attend Hamilton College and earned a degree in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Dartmouth College. 

Patrick is the Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Executive Leadership Team at W.L. Gore & Associates. W.L. Gore is a global materials science company focused on discovery and product innovation based on fluoropolymer technology and manufacturing. Annual revenues are approximately $3 billion.

Prior to joining Gore in May of 2016, Patrick had a successful twenty-year career with DuPont, which he joined in 1996 as a chemist in Fluoroproducts.  His successful career at DuPont included positions as Global Business Director of Teflon Fluoropolymers, Director in the DuPont Corporate Plans and Strategy group, Global Business Director for DuPont Electronics & Communications, President of DuPont Performance Polymers and President of the newly formed DuPont Performance Materials division. 

Patrick is also a Board member for the Delaware-based nonprofit organization, Survivors of Abuse in Recovery (SOAR). SOAR’s mission is to provide counseling and therapy to child sex abuse victims regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.  Patrick has multiple national publications in the Journal of American Chemistry Society and several patents. Patrick created and funds the Lemal and Hughes Fellowship at Dartmouth to attract exceptional students to the Chemistry Graduate Department.

Dr. William Robert Fulton 

Dr. William Robert Fulton is a 1993 graduate of Midlakes who went on to attend Binghamton University and earned a degree in Biochemistry. He attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his surgical internship at the Peninsula Hospital in Queens, followed by a surgical residency at Botsford Hospital associated with Michigan State. 

Dr. Fulton has mentored students and has been nationally published.  He is recognized as a leader of the medical staff first as Vice Chief of Staff from 2014-2016 and now as Chief of Staff of NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, California.

As an active trauma and acute care surgeon, he cares for the most critically injured and ill patients. He continues to teach and give presentations at multiple hospitals and is a certified trauma instructor for the American College of Surgeons.

He served 13 years in the military and received the 2008 Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the 2010 Meritorious Service Medal. He has participated in multiple fundraising events for multiple sclerosis.  In 2008, he developed a pelvic packing technique for postpartum hemorrhage control. This technique adapted from trauma has proven life-saving when other methods failed.

Joy Wilkes 

Honorary Inductee Joy Wilkes was a 1965 graduate of Phelps High School and taught fourth grade for the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District for 34 years. During her tenure, she mentored numerous new teachers, served as grade level chair, and ran the National Math Olympiads for fourth grade.

In 1988, she won funds from a grant to create a reading quilt with her class that is still on display at the Phelps Community Library. Joy was actively involved with Vince Lombardi League, 4H, and was a Sunday school teacher at the United Church of Phelps.  One of her greatest accomplishments was when she teamed up with Mary Lue Mueller to move a one-room schoolhouse to the Midlakes campus. In addition, she created multiple new curriculum for her grade level. Joy was also an entrepreneur of Sewing Joys. 

A day of celebration will be held on Friday, May 12 and will include classroom visits by the honorees, a luncheon with select members of the student body, as well as members of the Graduate of Distinction committee and school officials, followed by a tour of the school campus.  The induction ceremony will be held at Warfield’s Restaurant in Clifton Springs beginning at 4:00 pm.  Tickets for those interested in attending the hors d’oeuvres reception can be purchased at Midlakes High School by April 28th for the cost of $20.

The Graduate of Distinction program honors graduates of Midlakes who have made significant contributions to society.