Farley Becomes Fourteenth: An Inauguration to Remember

By Emily Hawkins

Rambler Staff 


This past Inauguration Week of Dr. Barbara Farley solidified even more what our professors, community, board members, and students already knew: Dr. Farley is the perfect fit for our small liberal arts college. Dr. Farley spent the week meeting as many people as she could and spending time with Illinois College students and her new faculty family. She remembered many names, bounced around Illinois College sporting events, and even took goofy photo booth pictures with students at True Blue Palooza. Dr. Farley even created a Facebook page to get to know as much about IC life as possible.

Over 150 students, dressed proudly in True Blue, attended the inauguration of 14th president (first female), Dr. Barbara Farley, in Bruner on Saturday. More impressive still, over 50 delegates from different colleges and universities gathered to celebrate the occasion with Dr. Farley. As the delegates, students, Illinois College professors, members of the Jacksonville community, and flag bearers of 19 different countries filed in, Dr. Farley’s face showed what we’ve all felt since getting to know our new president: pride. The constantly-smiling Dr. Farley received nothing but the highest praise from everybody in attendance. 

?In the opening invocation, Chaplain Katrina Jenkins expressed her joy at welcoming our new president and spoke with confidence about Dr. Farley’s future impact on not only our college, but in the Jacksonville community as a whole. Chaplain Jenkins’ speech was followed by a duet by our own professors of music, Abby Musgrove and Addie Gramelspacher.  After the two women sang beautifully, the Chair of the Illinois College Board of Trustees, Joy French Becker (’67), welcomed the many different people celebrating one of the most important days in Illinois College history. Becker echoed Chaplain Jenkins in the retelling of the unshakeable faith this community, faculty, students, board members, and delegates have in Dr. Farley. The welcome being given by our esteemed Chair, Richard Ekman, the president of the Council of Independent Colleges, greeted the crowded gym with a warm smile.

 The most heartfelt speech for Dr. Farley was given by Paul Pribbenow, the president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Pribbenow worked alongside Dr. Farley for over 6 years. Dr. Pribbenow’s spoken shock at finding so many students at an inauguration was followed by many chuckles from the crowd, especially the students. What better way for us to spend our Saturday afternoon than welcoming our new president? Dr. Pribbenow praised Dr. Farley in saying she is known for “her leadership and putting others first”.

With all of the introductory speeches completed, it was Illinois College’s turn to welcome our new president with many symbolic gifts. Dr. Farley received the President’s Chain and 

Medallion as a mark of authority that she will wear on official occasions. The links on the Chain have the name of the previous 13 presidents and now bears the name of our 14th president. These gifts are the mission values of Illinois College. Dr. Farley first received a small cairn engraved with the word “excellence” and the initials of “IC”, recognizing the path of excellence that Illinois College has shaped so far. The cairn was presented to Dr. Farley by Dr. Laura Corey, Associate Professor of Biology. The next gift Dr. Farley received was a symbol of Service by Katie Brunk (’10). St. Francis of Assisi encompassed the commitment to service to others and Catholic social worker, Dorothy Day requested that her close friend, Fritz Eichenberg, craft these teachings into woodblock illustrations that reflect the commitment of service. Dr. Farley received an original, hand-signed and numbered print of Eichenberg’s beautiful creation. The last symbol was the symbol of Leadership. Bret Thixton, president of the 2014 graduating class, presented Dr. Farley with a vintage Baccarat candlestick and candle. This candle was fashioned in France and features an Illinois College royal blue socket holding a white taper candle and was presented in honor of the lasting impression Dr. Farley made on the student body. After receiving these many gifts, it was finally Dr. Farley’s turn to speak. 

The new president’s voice rang out loud and clear with her thanks to have such a warm reception on one of the most important days in her life. She addressed her family and reminded them that they are the most important thing to her. This day would be dedicated to her late husband, Jack Farley. Jack was “kind, gentle, and always moving forward” and will always be her inspiration. Dr. Farley then spoke of her nerve wracking interview with the Illinois College Presidential Search Committee. Dr. Farley had no reason to be nervous; after proclaiming that “the world needs colleges like IC now more than ever”, the Committee was sold. Dr. Farley then addressed the faculty, trustees, students, delegates, colleagues, community, and alumni in the form of goals.

Our future goals stand as thus: to be dedicated to one another, practice higher education, give back, uphold tradition, enrich our community, and to inspire others as much as they inspire us. Dr. Farley had us all stand and celebrate one another. As the applause died down, Dr. Farley officially became Illinois College’s 14th President. Congratulations, President Farley! The future has never looked so bright and we could not be more excited to see where you will lead us on the path to excellence.


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