In memoriam: Hayward 'Woody' Farrar Jr., the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies and associate professor of history
May 31, 2013
Sept. 18 update: The history department will host a "Remembrance and Celebration of Life for Woody Farrar" on Friday, Sept. 27, from 4-6 p.m., at the Black Cultural Center in Squires Student Center on the Blacksburg campus. Address and parking information for Squires is available online.
Hayward "Woody" Farrar Jr., the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies and associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, died at home Friday, May 31, 2013.
Farrar, who dedicated himself to counseling, mentoring, and advocating for underrepresented students, student athletes, and students in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, was 63 years old.
A Phi Beta Kappa and former Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Maryland, where in 1969, he helped to establish their Afro-American Studies Program, Farrar came to Virginia Tech in 1992 following several years of teaching at historically black colleges and universities and within the black community. He also taught at Spelman College, Fisk University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he was an instructor in the prison college program.
Farrar was the advisor of the Virginia Tech chapter of the NAACP from 1992 to 2005, the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity since 1999, the Kemetic Benu Order Inc., from 1995 to 1998, and the Enlightened Gospel Choir.
Farrar received numerous awards for his efforts, including the 2005 Overton Johnson Presidential Award, the 1999 and 2000 Black Caucus Leadership Award, and the 1998 Black Caucus Faculty Member of the Year Award.
Farrar's record of scholarship includes two books, The Baltimore Afro-American 1892-1950 (Greenwood Press, 1998) and Leaders and Movements (Rourke Press, 1995), five book chapters, three journal articles, and several encyclopedia entries. He was in the process of writing his third book on the history of Baltimore's black community from 1950 to 2012.
A faculty member in the Department of History, Farrar was supportive of Virginia Tech's Africana Studies Program and a member of the Africana Studies Executive Board. As an affiliated faculty member to the program, he taught cross-listed courses such as Afro-American Intellectual History, and Sports and the Afro-American Experience.
Farrar received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago where he studied with the distinguished historian John Hope Franklin.
A wake will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Monday, June 10, 2013, at Vaughn Greene Funeral Home, 4905 York Rd., Baltimore, Md. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at River of Life Christian Center, 5225 Hamilton Ave, in Baltimore, with interment at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Farrar’s name can be made to the Virginia Tech Foundation Inc. with the designation “in memory of Dr. Hayward “Woody” Farrar Jr.” and mailed to Virginia Tech University Development Gift Accounting (0336), 902 Prices Fork Road, Blackburg, VA 24061.