Farley educates new students in college experience course

The man behind the bowtie Jerry Farley has been president of Washburn University since 1997. He plans on staying an Ichabod as long as possible.

Robert Burkett

Many times, some students at Washburn feel like the administration doesn’t understand them as well as they should.

Sometimes frustration over what is thought of as out of touch officials can be misplaced though.

In the case of the man who leads the vision and future of Washburn President Jerry Farley comes from the same humble background that so many at Washburn can associate with.

He recently spoke to IS 100, otherwise known as College Experience, courses at Washburn to help further welcome new students to Washburn.

Farley was the first in his family to go to college and pursue an education after high school. Coming from a small town had its challenges when attending the University of Oklahoma.

“I grew up in a town of about 1,000 people, so everyone knew each other,” said Farley. “It made coming to the [University of Oklahoma] a difficult transition.”

Farley admits that when he was a young man, he didn’t have the slightest idea about college. Through the encouragement of a friend, Farley took the standardized tests that could determine his academic future.

“I liked taking tests,” said Farley. “You could call me a little bit of a ‘nerd’ when I was younger and even still today a little as well.”

Upon gaining acceptance to OU, Farley began attending without knowing what he wanted to do in school. Through his time at OU, he would change his major four times as he attempted to navigate his way in college.

A few keys that had served him in life to that point came to be a mantra that Farley still believes is the path to success at college.

“I’ve always felt that if you did three things in college you could be a great success,” said Farley. “First is go to class, being there is the quickest way to success. Second is to do your homework because applying what you learn is one of the biggest steps to success. Third and maybe sometimes not thought of as much, ask for help. Washburn is filled with people who want you to succeed during your time here.”

Though Farley has pursued his education to the highest extent, gaining a doctoral degree in higher education administration, he still feels that getting an education can take more than one form. Speaking to his audience, he urged all students to become active on campus and serve the Washburn community in some form.

His last and perhaps more emphatic point was that running Washburn is a team effort and being what he termed “the big boss” is more a misnomer than anything else.

“Washburn attracted me because I believe we have an opportunity to create leadership for our community,” said Farley.