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October 18, 2013
By Kate Hawthorne Jeracki
After seven years, he will transition into a senior advisor to Executive Vice President and Provost Rick Miranda, and help develop a toxicology program in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Unflappable. Rock steady. A consummate professional.
That’s how his peers in the Colorado State University administration described Bill Farland at a reception in his honor on Oct. 17, an occasion marking Farland’s transition from Vice President for Research to senior advisor to Executive Vice President Rick Miranda.
“It’s been a great run,” Farland said of his seven years overseeing research activities at CSU. “I am very pleased with how well positioned the University is for the future, and feel very blessed to have worked with our faculty, who are always searching for creative solutions to significant problems, as well as with the wonderful OVPR staff – especially our immediate office family.”
Shifting the focus to other members of his team is typical of Farland, according to Kathi Delehoy, senior associate vice president for research, and Hank Gardner, associate vice president for research.
“Bill would always take the time to recognize every member of the research division, no matter what their job,” Delehoy told the crowd of more than 100 guests that included representatives from all of the state’s research institutions. “He knows that folks do their very best work when they are appreciated appropriately.”
Gardner added that Farland has made the motto "Local discovery, global impact" more than a tagline, but a reality at CSU.
Tony Frank, who held the position of VPR before becoming CSU President, cited Farland’s long list of academic and professional credentials accumulated over his 27-year career with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, where he became the highest-ranking career scientist, as well as during his tenure at CSU.
“Bill has built the infrastructure that supports the University’s research efforts,” Frank said, “and has had a lasting impact on the institution as a whole.”
During Farland’s time at CSU, the research budget has grown to more than $300 million per year, representing one-third of the University’s budget.
For all of Farland’s successes, however, Frank predicted there is one area in which he will fail miserably: retirement.
While Farland has turned over the VPR reins to Alan Rudolph, he will still be on campus about one month per semester. In addition to his advisory role, he will be working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to build a world-class toxicology program.
“Bill is consistently focused on quality over expediency,” said Miranda. “He constantly asks what is the best way to do something – and why aren’t we doing it that way?”
Miranda cited three “I”s to describe Farland’s philosophy and what he has brought to CSU: Interdisciplinary cooperation; Industry focus; and International outreach, including his own service on international advisory boards.
“I appreciate Bill’s willingness to collaborate, to build relationships, and partner with others, because he understands no one can go it alone,” Miranda said. He pointed to Farland’s inclusion of art students in the annual Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase as an example of adding an additional dimension by reaching out to another part of campus not usually thought of in terms of research.
Miranda presented Farland with a framed copy of an honor read into the Congressional Record by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis earlier this month, “to recognize the extraordinary public service career of Dr. William H. Farland…”
After recapping his career and accolades, the honor concludes: “Dr. Farland has performed outstanding federal service, showing an unwavering commitment to promoting science in the service of the public, and he has earned the trust and utmost respect of his colleagues and the citizens of Colorado as a member of the community of dedicated public servants at CSU.”
When he’s not on campus or traveling the globe representing CSU, Farland plans to spend more time with his wife, Phyllis, who also attended the reception. “I am keeping my promise to Phyllis that when I turned 65, I would stop going into the office every day,” Farland said. “As Tony Frank told her, from now on, she will be getting twice the husband for half the salary.”