Our condolences: Donald J. Farish, former Rowan president

Our condolences: Donald J. Farish, former Rowan president


It is with sadness that I share the news of the passing of Donald J. Farish, sixth president of Rowan University.

According to a statement issued by Roger Williams University, where he has served as president since 2011, Dr. Farish passed yesterday, July 5, after a sudden and short bout with a serious illness. 

Dr. Farish arrived at Rowan in 1998 after serving as provost at Sonoma State University. His goal was to take a well-regarded local state college to the “next level”—and that he did.

During his tenure, donors supported his vision by generously funding the Campbell Library, Rohrer College of Business, the Edelman Planetarium, the Bantivoglio Honors College, and Jones Innovation Center.

Determined to provide facilities that matched the caliber of Rowan’s instruction and meet the demand for increased enrollment, Dr. Farish oversaw the construction of Science Hall, Education Hall, the Town House residential complex, and worked with community leaders on the development of Rowan Boulevard. He also had the foresight to purchase the 600-acre tract we now refer to as the West Campus and was instrumental in the development of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. 

Dr. Farish was an enthusiastic president, eager to build pride among alumni and friends of Rowan, encourage and equip educators and create opportunities for students. His leadership and affection for Rowan University were apparent especially as he championed its successes and potential to excel even more. For his commitment and vision, the Rowan community recalls Donald J. Farish with admiration and respect.

Dr. Farish, age 75, is survived by his wife, Maia. More information about funeral arrangements will be shared by Roger Williams University as it becomes available. For updated information and to share your condolences, please visit https://www.rwu.edu/who-we-are/president/remembering-president-farish 



Ali A. Houshmand