August 8, 2003

CONTACT: Kimberly Stark, (901) 333-4023 Marilyn Duncan, (901) 333-4247


Throughout his lifetime, William Walter ‘Bill’ Farris demonstrated a commitment to education with his ongoing contributions and service. He was an active and vocal advocate of higher education in West Tennessee.

Mr. Farris, a member emeritus of the Tennessee Board of Regents, served the Board for 17 years, two terms as vice chairman. He was a key force in the growth of several West Tennessee two-year colleges, in particular Southwest.

“Bill Farris was a dear friend and very loyal supporter of me, personally, as well as of Southwest,” said President Nate Essex. “His presence, his contributions to education and his influence will be greatly missed, not only by everyone at Southwest, but by people throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Mr. Farris personally contributed to Southwest by establishing the Lindle Richard Morris Memorial, the Olin F. Morris Collection to the Freeman Library on the Macon Cove campus, the Jimmie W. Farris Endowed Scholarship, and the Distinguished Faculty Service Award, given annually to a faculty member who best demonstrates a commitment to excellence in the teaching profession. He also was a member emeritus of the College’s Foundation Board of Trustees.

Additionally, in 1991, Mr. Farris donated an 18-acre tract of land to Southwest to be used for educational purposes. He generously supported the fund-raising efforts of the childcare center and the 80,000-square-foot Farris student services/administration complex on the Macon Cove campus.

Southwest lost a dedicated, longtime supporter with the death of Bill Farris.