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Dr. Donald J. Farish
Dr. Farish served as Rowan’s sixth president for 13 years, from 1998 to 2011.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Western Canada, He emigrated south as a young man. After earning his bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of British Columbia, he received a master’s in entomology from North Carolina State University, a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Missouri.
Dr. Farish is a member of the Missouri Bar and an accomplished scientist in his own right. He has published six biology textbooks and authored or co-authored numerous articles on entomology and animal behavior.
Prior to his appointment at Rowan, Dr. Farish served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Sonoma State University in northern California. He previously served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences at Sonoma State.
Once at Rowan, Dr. Farish led the University through an aggressive improvement plan, transforming a well-regarded regional institution into a world-class university with a national reputation for excellence and innovation.
During his tenure, he oversaw the construction of Science Hall (fall 2003), Education Hall (fall 2005) and a 113-unit on-campus townhouse complex to accommodate Rowan’s growing residential base (spring 2005).
He also oversaw the purchase of 600-acres of land for the construction of the South Jersey Technology Park on what is today referred to as Rowan’s West Campus. The park, which houses the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center, serves as a home for technology-focused researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, professors and students as well as facilities for start-up and established companies that bring innovative technologies to the marketplace.
Off campus, Dr. Farish strengthened relationships between the University and its surrounding communities, which led to the development of Rowan Boulevard, a public-private partnership between Rowan, the Borough of Glassboro and SORA Holdings.
Under Dr. Farish’s leadership, the University also purchased the historic First National Bank and Trust Company building, which will serve as home to Rowan’s Camden campus. Once renovations are complete, the 44,000-square-foot building will allow the Camden campus to triple its enrollment and expand academic offerings.
In 2010, Rowan made history when the University entered into an agreement with Cooper University Hospital to establish Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) in the City of Camden. CMSRU will be the first four-year allopathic medical school ever in South Jersey and the first medical school in the state in more than 30 years.