Message from the President:

David Farr PortraitDr. M. M. MacOdrum’s handwritten note on stationery from the Nova Scotian Hotel, indicates that, while in Halifax, he interviewed a Dalhousie professor named Dr. David M.L. Farr in room 433 on April 5, 1947 from 4:15-5:30 p.m.  A yellowed telegram addressed to Dr. M. M. MacOdrum, President of Carleton College, Ottawa, Ontario states:  “Accept appointment on conditions indicated stop please confirm by letter=D.M.L. Farr.”

Thus began the Carleton career of a man, William E. Beckel would call the “epitome of founding fathers,” a man who served under eight presidents .

Dr. Farr received his B.A. First Class Honours in History and Economics from U.B.C., his M.A. in History from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. from Oxford.  He taught at Dalhousie, U.B.C. and Duke but he spent 43 years and four months working at Carleton before his retirement on January 1, 1987.

In a sense, we might say that he never retired.  Carleton and the university community were ever close to his heart and he followed developments at his university with great care and attention. During his time at Carleton, he was a professor of History, Chair of the History Department, Dean of Arts, Director of the Paterson School of International Programs and Professor Emeritus and received an honorary degree from Carleton.

He was also a leader off campus and served as President of the Canadian Historical Association, Chair of the Council of Deans of Arts and Science of Ontario, and member of the Board of the Social Science Federation. His book, the Colonial Office and Canada, 1867-87, was published by the University of Toronto Press.  His impressive articles and reviews and the dissertations he directed stand witness to the intellect of a fine scholar.

Dr. Farr was a truly gentle soul, generous to a fault.  He encouraged his students and colleagues with positive comments and brought people together across disciplines and from different theoretical backgrounds.  He welcomed new colleagues to campus and introduced them to colleagues, and he even included new presidents in this circle!  He participated in Spring Conference until recently and made every event he attended special by his warm and thoughtful presence. His failing eyesight did not prevent him from enjoying visits from faithful Carleton friends whom he treated as family.  We are the richer for having known him, studied and worked with him. Canada is the better for his teaching and his contribution to creating the Carleton that we know. Today we have lost a member of our family and Canada has lost a fine scholar who helped shape this university.

Dr. Farr’s family will be holding a private service. At the time of the ceremony, the university will lower the flags to half-mast. At a later date, a memorial service on campus will be considered.

Roseann O’Reilly Runte