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  • RWU The Inauguration

Since the start of the presidential search process in the Fall 2010 semester, input from individuals across the Roger Williams University community has informed every decision along the way. As we approach Inauguration Week, this Guestbook offers an online forum for community conversation – we encourage you to read insights from others and to share your own thoughts on what Inauguration 2011 means to you and to the Roger Williams University family.

Ron Ianoale
Former Chair, Rowan University Board of Trustees (1)

To the Roger Williams University Community:

You are to be congratulated on the selection of Dr. Donald Farish as your university president.  I was fortunate to be one of the trustees at Rowan University in New Jersey to cast a vote in favor of the selection of Don as our university president.  Overnight Rowan’s culture and physical space changed as a result of his leadership—new academic buildings, new dormitories, and a new downtown.  Rowan’s academic prestige sky-rocketed under his guidance.  Roger Williams University will also be transformed by Don’s leadership. 

Best of luck...and enjoy the ride into the next level of educational excellence!

Wednesday August 24 08:42

Drew Calandrella
Vice President for Student Affairs, California State University, Chico (2)


I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as the 10th president of Roger Williams University! 

Having known you since 1986 where I worked with you at Sonoma State University for thirteen years and then, while you served as president at Rowan University, having had the opportunity to join you as the first vice president for Student Affairs at Rowan from 2000 to 2006, I know first-hand the experience, integrity, and commitment to student learning that you bring with you.  I count those nearly twenty years as amongst the best of my career in terms of accomplishing so many initiatives for which you provided outstanding leadership.

I am certain that your vision, energy, student centered focus, commitment to scholarly work as well as service to the greater community will help to drive RWU to the next level of excellence.  The students, faculty, staff and community are fortunate to have you leading such a fine institution and I wish you and Maia the very best as you take the helm and steer the campus to its next level in the history of the campus!

With Best Regards,
Drew Calandrella

Wednesday August 24 08:46

Arthur E. Levine

President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (3)

I congratulate Roger Williams University on its superb choice of Donald Farish as president and join the university community in celebrating President Farish's inauguration and in anticipating the many accomplishments in the years ahead.

Thursday August 25 08:47

Jean Edelman (4)     

As a member of the Board of Trustees at Rowan University I had the honor of working with Don Farish for 4 years. As alums, my husband and I have known Don Farish for more than a decade. We are honored and humbled to call him a friend. We send Don congratulations and warm wishes as he joins his new family at Roger Williams. Don will touch many lives during what certainly will be remembered as a distinguished career at Roger Williams University.

Saturday August 27 08:34

Betty Castor and Sam Bell (5)    

Hello Don, and Maia, too,

Sam and I wish you the best as you launch your new presidency at Roger Williams University. We are envious of your beautiful location and the wonderful legacy of the university. You are indeed a perfect match! Please know that we will be thinking about you on your very special day.

Monday August 29 09:04

Carmen A. Jordan-Cox, Ph.D. , Courtnee N. Jordan-Cox (6)

Congratulations on your inauguration as the 10th President of Roger Williams University. May the years ahead be rich and fulfilling, and may the wind be at your back as you lead RWU to even greater heights. Best Regards and Well Wishes.

Tuesday August 30 09:08

Ed Streb

Professor and Chair of Communication Studies, Rowan University (7)

Don, those of us who worked closely with you throughout your years at Rowan know the type of dynamic and visionary leadership that you’re about to bring to Roger Williams. From the moment you set foot on our campus, we could tell that you were the kind of president who would not only guide us, but also inspire us and challenge us to do things we had never imagined were possible. Thanks to you, Rowan is a stronger, more vibrant institution than ever before. I know that Roger Williams is already an outstanding university, but I am certain that it will achieve even greater things with you at the helm. Congratulations on your appointment! I look forward to seeing you at your inaugural celebration!

Tuesday August 30 09:13

Drs. Carol and Martin Sharp (8)     

Dr. Donald A. Farish is a champion of higher education in America. His own academic background along with deep teaching and administrative experiences allow him to define the needs of a university in this century of rapid change. He enjoyed and learned much from the students and faculty of the universities he has served so well in the past. In his new Presidency at Roger Williams University, he will preserve the heritage of the best from the past while building a new and forward university for all who come to the academy. He is a creator, who thrives on new ideas and goals. He can work with all in the university and the community at large. He has a passion for what he does and will share it with all. He communicates in a stellar manner with individuals as well as to large audiences. His sense of humor adds richness to this bold and bright person. We wish him and his wife the very best.

Tuesday August 30 09:16

Anthony Marchese

Colorado State University (9)

I had the great privilege to work closely with Don and Maia on many occasions during my 12 years at Rowan, most specifically in developing the South Jersey Technology Park and the West Campus. There is no question that his tenure as President of Rowan University will go down in history as the period in which our university made its greatest strides in becoming the comprehensive university of southern New Jersey. I am confident to predict that the next decade will be an exciting one for the Roger Williams University community!

Wednesday September 14 13:16

Jeanne and David Beck

Crawford Beck Vineyard, Amity, Oregon (10)

To the Roger Williams University Community,

As head of a New Jersey research institute, I met Dr. Donald Farish very shortly after he arrived in New Jersey to take over the leadership of the newly renamed Rowan University and guide it through a period of dramatic growth pursuant to its naming gift. I became exceptionally impressed with Dr. Farish's diplomatic skills, energy, and finesse. He was able to see the pathways to academic and business expansion, and to build enrollment at a time when State support was decreasing. Dr. Farish quickly became the intellectual force behind the University and a remarkable leader when the University most needed one, and the source of wry humor at all times.

I congratulate Roger Williams University on its choice of Dr. Farish as its 10th President and congratulate Dr. Farish on his inauguration. Only the press of the impending grape harvest could keep me from attending this special event. Jeanne and I wish Don and Maia the very best.

Wednesday September 14 17:32

Eric Milou

Rowan University (11)

Best Wishes to you, Maia, and Don on your inauguration. The faculty at RWU are very lucky to have your vision, passion, and inspiration and I thank you for inspiring me during your tenure at Rowan.

Wednesday September 14 20:23

Yvonne Bonitto Doggett

Former Trustee, Rowan University (12)

Dear Don and Maia,

I am so sorry I will not personally be with you both at Don’s inauguration. But please know that I will be there in spirit. Don, I am very honored to have been one of the members of Rowan’s search committee that selected you as its president and to have served with you as trustee during your tenure. As educator and skilled administrator, you dedicated your time at Rowan with singleness of purpose and rare devotion to the welfare of your college community. Rowan University’s successes could only have been achieved through your qualities of fairness, modesty, thoughtful consideration, courage and best type of constructive leadership. In your own quiet way you have made an outstanding contribution, not only to Rowan, but to higher education. Roger Williams University and its community are lucky to have you. My hearty congratulations to you on your new presidency. Roger Williams University chose the right man.

Best wishes for continued success and happiness. Maia, take care of yourself and Don, and, when in my neighborhood, don’t forget to call!

Tuesday September 20 17:34

C. Stewart Slater

Professor and Founding Chair of Chemical Engineering, Rowan University (13)

To the Roger Williams University Community,

I commend Roger Williams University for selecting Don Farish as their 10th president. I have had the pleasure of working with Don during his tenure at Rowan University. He provided exceptional leadership and vision to us at a time of growth for our University and was a strong advocate of our College of Engineering.  We were fortunate to have him with us for this crucial time. He will be sorely missed by all of us at Rowan.

Our loss is a tremendous gain for Roger Williams University. You have selected one of the most faculty- and student-centered administrators who I have ever known. Don’s passion for education is evident from his direct involvement in the variety of activities of the academic community. I am confident that Don can guide Roger Williams University into the future and help make your dreams a reality.

My best to Don and Maia on this important day and may his tenure as your 10th President be one of distinction.

Tuesday September 27 11:46

Keith Johnson

Rowan University (14)

I applaud the choice of Don Farish as Roger Williams University’s president.

I’ve been associated with several colleges and universities, and I received more support by far from the administration at Rowan than I did anywhere else. Don was fair, dynamic, and imaginative. He was always considerate of the needs of students and staff. Under his guidance, Rowan has become an outstanding institution; it’s a great pleasure to work there. I hope you will allow Maia to become an important part of the university community. She was an effective ambassador for Rowan. She also was of great help to me personally; the Edelman Planetarium would not be the active facility it is without her support.

I’m blessed to be able to count both of them as friends. I wish them and Roger Williams university all the best. I won’t say anything about Don’s sense of humor. You’ll find out.

Sunday October 02 20:19

Leslie Clark

Former Mayor, City of Woodbury (15)

Roger Williams University has selected one of the finest men I've ever known to be its 10th president. Don's intelligence, integrity, vision and - yes! - his sense of humor all contributed to the transformation of Rowan University. He exemplifies all the best a university could hope to get and RWU will be the richer for his leadership.

It was an honor and a privilege to work with Don and to call him a neighbor and a friend. I wish him and his wife Maia many years of happiness at RWU.

Don, I wish I could be there to share in the happiness of the occasion. Know that you'll be in my thoughts as you are inaugurated!

Wednesday October 05 19:59

Susan H. Dorfman, Ph.D.

The Baldwin School (16)

It would have been my great honor to represent the University of Pennsylvania at the inauguration of Donald Farish as President of Roger Williams University. I regret that I can't support Don and Maia and celebrate with them and the RWU community. Donald Farish has demonstrated the wisdom and vision borne of the intersection of experience and creativity. My congratulations to the RWU Board on choosing a superb leader. I wish for Don and Maia great joy in the challenges ahead as well as the time to enjoy the incredible beauty that surrounds them.

Friday October 07 17:19

Keith & Shirley Campbell

Former Chair, Rowan University (17)

Our best wishes go to the RWU community and the Farish's on what is certain to be a splendid day. Dr. Farish was a magnificent choice for President of Roger Williams University. His wife, Maia, brings tremendous enthusiasm in everything she does. We are sorry not to be able to attend the event as we are on a long planned vacation with my 90 year old mother. Buffy sends her love and congratulations on this wonderful event. Have a wonderful day!

Keith & Shirley

Sunday October 09 07:26

Cindi Hasit

Rowan University (18)

I congratulate Roger Williams University on your acumen in selecting Don Farish as your next president. He is a superb leader who can bring a community together to reach new heights. I believe that you will find that he and Maia will bring passion and commitment to Roger Williams' continuing sucess. My best wishes to all.

Wednesday October 12 10:15

David Clowney

Rowan University (19)

Congratulations, Don, on your inauguration. As a faculty member at Rowan during the whole of your presidency there, I'm most grateful for your leadership, your support for faculty, and your steady, realistic commitment to the liberal arts and to humane values during this time of rapid change as well as tremendous pressure on the integrity of higher education. I know Roger Williams will benefit from your leadership, and I trust that with your energy, humor, and vision you will enjoy the job and accomplish very good things.

All the best, David

Thursday October 13 11:15