In memoriam: John Farmer ('53 B.S.)
December 3, 2019
The college community mourns the loss of alumnus John Farmer (’53 B.S. forestry), who passed away on Aug. 30 at the age of 87. Farmer enjoyed a 38-year career with Dominion Energy, managing thousands of acres of timber and designing innovative programs to manage growth in the company’s rights-of-way. His most notable contributions, though, came through his charitable work with organizations ranging from his local church and the Lions Club to the Boy Scouts and the Appalachian Trail Conference.
Of particular note, Farmer served almost three decades as president of the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation, which supports natural resources education programs for students of all ages. The foundation’s largest funding initiative is the scholarships it awards to Virginia Tech students studying forestry and related fields, totaling over $1.3 million since 1993. “Funding forestry’s future is the reason we award scholarships to students in the various disciplines,” Farmer said in 2014. “They go on to ensure that forests are sustainably managed, which provides the base for a strong forest products industry and ensures the continuation of the many ecosystem services forests provide.”
Professor Harold Burkhart, who serves on the foundation’s board, said, “The assets of the foundation grew steadily, and funding for educational programs increased by over 1,800% during John’s tenure as president, thanks to his influence in bringing more individuals and businesses into the donor circle and his savvy investment instincts and management skills. His life exemplifies the Virginia Tech motto, Ut Prosim.”