TOPEKA (KSNT) – Longtime Washburn President Jerry Farley announced his plans for retirement Monday afternoon.
He leaves behind an impressive legacy – from many pivotal achievements over his 25 years of service.
One aspect of his legacy you can’t miss on the university grounds are the buildings Farley played a part in creating and updating. The Living Learning Center and Student Rec, were built to bring in more full time learners to the campus, while key renovations to the Union and White Concert Hall brought a fresh look to the university.
In 2015, Farley was at the forefront working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Forensic Center, to bring a world class forensics program to the campus.
It’s not just impressive buildings. In 2019, 95-year-old U.S. Senator Robert Dole made a return to the campus. Dr. Fraley welcomed the alumnus back with a new statue dedicated to the senator.
Even with those achievements and many more, President Farley says his biggest accomplishment was his work with Washburn Tech.
“We’re giving those students an opportunity,” President Farley said. “If they want to take a technical program it’s great, you’re ready to go, give it another year and you’re out earning money. Maybe sometime in the future you’d like a higher degree. There’s a pathway forward for them to do that.”
From honoring veterans, to creating new opportunities that enhance student life, President Farley’s legacy will not be forgotten anytime soon by the thousands of visitors that have, and will grace the Topeka campus.
Dr. Farley leaves behind a long list of accomplishments while president. And with those milestones, comes how he will be remembered.
“We want to remember him for what he was and that was probably the best university president we’ve had,” Terry Beck, Washburn Board of Regents chair said.
And by his side from the beginning, is his wife Susan, who made sure people knew that this was a team effort.
“Susan always thought it was her job to be a part of Washburn, to be an ambassador, number one ambassador for Washburn,” JuliAnn Mazachek, vice president for academic affairs said. “And to tell the story, and to make the friendships and the relationships.”
On top of the relationship building, Farley was always looking one step ahead — finding ways to improve anything he could.
“What I have learned over these, what seven years, is he is always thinking, always looking two to three steps ahead about what we can do to improve this or address this problem,” Beck said.
And with that mindset, the Farley’s have changed their community for the better.
“We know that that impact of their efforts, and their outreach, has made a tremendous difference on how people across the state, at the legislature, in the business community, think about Washburn University,” Mazachek said.
Terry Beck told 27 News that the university has a few ways they want to reinforce President Farley’s legacy for a long time. Details on those plans though are still to come. Following retirement on September 30, Dr. Farley is still wanting to be involved with the campus – helping with the archives, and even looking to teach.