Remembering President Farish

Honoring President Donald J. Farish

President Farish discusses a project with students.President Donald J. Farish was a visionary leader in higher education, who transformed Roger Williams University into a vital institution devoted to community engagement, college affordability and equity. He died on Thursday, July 5, 2018, from a sudden and serious illness, while serving his eighth year as our president.

As RWU’s 10th president, he provided a vision for a modern university, aiming to “build the university the world needs now.” He had planned to retire in June 2019 from a remarkable 51-year career in academia. Here, we hope to honor his many accomplishments and exceptional legacy.

Students working on hands-on engineering project.

His Legacy and Vision

Since joining RWU in 2011, President Farish led the university in challenging the status quo in higher education on the vitally important issues of educational innovation, college affordability and finding solutions to the problems that matter most to society. His ultimate goal was to provide a transformative education for our students through experiential learning and civic scholarship – to create not just great scholars, but also great citizens.

Explore His Legacy
President Farish

Biography

A celebrated academic with 50 years of experience in higher education, he was an esteemed educator, scientist, and attorney, who inspired generations of college students and led two prestigious universities.

Learn About His Life and Career
Roger Williams statue on campus.

In His Own Words

He was a thought leader and a prolific writer, who used his presidential blog and essays to advocate for change in the U.S. model of higher education. From his op-eds to speeches, discover his remarkable insights into the issues facing higher education.

Discover His Ideas
President Farish poses with Swoop, RWU's mascot.

Memories and Condolences

In the days and weeks following his death, many friends and community members shared their memories and expressed their grief.

Read Memories
President Farish

Celebrating President Farish: A Special Event

Please join us on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, for what is sure to be an unforgettable event honoring the exceptional life and legacy of RWU’s beloved 10th president. Featuring student performances and remembrances, the event will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Campus Recreation Center on the Bristol campus. For those who can't attend, we will livestream the celebration.

View the Livestream
President and Maia Farish with student leaders

The President Donald J. Farish Memorial Fund

In response to the outpouring of condolences and numerous requests for a way to honor the life and legacy of President Farish, we have established the President Donald J. Farish Memorial Fund. Gifts to this fund will support the many critical initiatives that comprise the Civic Scholars Program at RWU. These programs enable RWU students to contribute as thoughtful leaders and good neighbors long after graduation, and instill in them a heart of service.

Make a Gift to the President Donald J. Farish Memorial Fund