Thomas F. Farrell Ii To Become U.Va.’S 38th Rector; He Succeeds Gordon F. Rainey Jr.
June 10, 2005 --
Today’s meeting of the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors is the last to be presided over by Gordon F. Rainey Jr. At 12:01 a.m. on July 1, the gavel officially will pass to Thomas F. Farrell II, who will become U.Va.’s 38th rector.
The rector, who receives a two-year appointment, heads the Board of Visitors, U.Va.’s state-appointed governing body. The University’s first two rectors were Thomas Jefferson (1819-1826) and James Madison (1826-1834).
“Gordon Rainey has been a wonderfully effective rector and advocate for the University,” said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. “He has been the driving force behind the current board's desire to improve the University's position as a national leader in higher education. His vision has resulted in numerous innovative initiatives, including the creation of AccessUVa and the Higher Education Restructuring Act. We are fortunate that we will continue to benefit by his wisdom and commitment for the balance of his board service, and in the longer run because he has accepted appointment as chair of the Campaign Executive Committee charged with overseeing the upcoming capital funds campaign.”
“Tom Farrell will be an outstanding rector,” Rainey said. “He has held important leadership positions on our board from the very beginning of his tenure. His knowledge of the University and his commitment to the student experience qualify him exceptionally well to serve as rector. I am looking forward to my continued service on the board under Tom's leadership.”
Farrell, who has served as the board’s vice rector since 2003, said of the outgoing rector, “Gordon’s accomplishments have been visionary and will have a long-lasting impact on the University, including the diversity initiatives, leading us into a more autonomous relationship with the state, and the search for distinguished scholars.”
Farrell, 50, is president and chief operating officer of Dominion, and resides in Richmond. He earned undergraduate degrees from the University in economics and communication in 1976, and a U.Va. law degree in 1979. While in the College of Arts & Sciences, he received the Pete Gray Award (now the Gray-Carrington Award), perhaps the most prestigious honor given to a U.Va. undergraduate.
Gov. James Gilmore appointed Farrell to the Board of Visitors in 2001, and he was elected the University’s inaugural vice rector — essentially, the rector-elect — in 2003. Gov. Mark Warner reappointed him to another four-year term on the board this spring.
Farrell previously served as a member of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. He also serves on the boards of Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Engineering and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. His two sons are undergraduate students at U.Va.
He said he looks forward to working closely with University President John T. Casteen III and with Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, over the coming two years.
“I’m going to try to keep the momentum on the initiatives that Gordon has started, and review in depth the role of foundations at the University,” Farrell said. “I want to work with John and Leonard to establish a structure that will allow us to move from the top 20 universities to the top 15 and ultimately the top 10.”
Rainey, 65, is chairman of Hunton & Williams, an international law firm of approximately 850 lawyers with 17 offices worldwide. A Richmond resident, he was appointed to the board by Gilmore in 2000, elected rector in the spring of 2003 and was reappointed to the board by Warner in 2004. His term on the board still has three years remaining.
Rainey received his B.A. degree from the University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1962 and his law degree from the U.Va. Law School in 1967. He is a former president of the U.Va. Alumni Association and currently serves as a trustee of the Law School Foundation. Earlier this year, RaIney received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Board of Trustees of the College Foundation, and he is also a past recipient of the Raven Award.
In addition to his duties at U.Va., he is a trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and a director of several business corporations, including SunTrust Mid-Atlantic, The Colonial Williamsburg Company and Bon Secours Richmond Health System.
Contact: Carol Wood. (434) 924-6189