Hayward "Woody" Farrar Jr., associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Africana Studies was established in 1995 by former Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. The professorship, named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his/her tenure.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1992, Farrar has dedicated himself to counseling, mentoring, and advocating for underrepresented students, student athletes, and students in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.
He was the advisor of the Virginia Tech chapter of the NAACP from 1992 to 2005, the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity from 1999 to present, the Kemetic Benu Order Inc., from 1995 to 1998, and the Enlightened Gospel Choir. For his efforts, Farrar has received numerous awards, including the 2005 Overton Johnson Presidential Award, the 1999 and 2000 Black Caucus Leadership Award, and the 1998 Black Caucus Faculty Member of the Year Award.
A Phi Beta Kappa and former Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Maryland, where in 1969, he helped to establish their Afro-American Studies Program, Farrar came to Virginia Tech following several years of teaching at historically black colleges and universities and within the black community. He has taught at Spelman College, Fisk University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he was an instructor in the prison college program.
Farrar's record of scholarship includes two books, The Baltimore Afro-American 1892-1950 (Greenwood Press, 1998) and Leaders and Movements (Rourke Press, 1995), five book chapters, three journal articles, and several encyclopedia entries. He is currently writing his third book on a history of Baltimore's black community from 1950 to 2012..
A member in the Department of History, Farrar has been supportive of Virginia Tech's Africana Studies Program and is a member of the Africana Studies Executive Board. As an affiliated faculty member to the program, he teaches cross-listed courses such as Afro-American Intellectual History, and Sports and the Afro-American Experience.
Farrar received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago where he studied with the distinguished historian John Hope Franklin.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.