With more than 40 years experience in higher education, including 11 as a full-time faculty member, esteemed educator, scientist and attorney Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., became the 10th president of Roger Williams University in June 2011.
Since taking the helm at RWU, Dr. Farish has guided the University in articulating an agreed-upon identity that defines the distinctive elements of an RWU education. As a result of that conversation, he launched the Affordable Excellence initiative, which has positioned Roger Williams at the leading edge of the national dialogue regarding cost, debt and job-preparedness for today’s college graduates. The success of that program led to an inclusive, university-wide vision process to establish aligned core values, a core purpose and university goal.
Via his blog and other outreach efforts, Dr. Farish has established himself as a voice for the change he believes is needed to make higher education more relevant, more affordable and more accessible. In June 2015 he was the keynote presenter at UBThrive, a new conference created by University Business magazine, where he outlined six key factors that have caused the public and the media to question the value of a college degree.
Prior to joining RWU, Dr. Farish served as president of Rowan University for 13 years, where he transformed the respected regional institution into a world-class university known for its innovative academic programs. Previously, he held academic and administrative positions at Sonoma State University, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Missouri. Throughout his career, Dr. Farish has demonstrated a commitment to teaching and learning, always considering himself a member of the faculty who also provides administrative leadership.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Dr. Farish immigrated to the U.S. in 1963 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of British Columbia. He holds a master of science in entomology from North Carolina State University, a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University and a juris doctor from the University of Missouri.