GSE Donor’s Enduring Legacy to Advance Equity in Education

Dr. Earl Farrow has a long history of advancing diversity and equity at Rutgers University and at the Graduate School of Education (GSE). It was this passion for advancing equity and his respect and admiration of his Rutgers colleague, mentor, and friend, Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor that sparked the idea for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education at Rutgers GSE.

Dr. Farrow was hired at Rutgers as a adjunct instructor in the Upward Bound program, which is a pre-college program designed to empower students from limited-income, first-generation backgrounds along with persons with disabilities to successfully graduate from high school, prepare for college admission, enter a post-secondary institution, and successfully complete a baccalaureate degree. The program was started as part of the Rutgers Educational Action Program (REAP). After two years of working in the program, Dr. Farrow was asked to serve as Assistant Director of REAP and in 1969 he became Director of the program. Under his leadership, the program has had and continues to have tremendous impact advancing equity in education.

He served as Chairman of the Academic Foundations department at Livingston College, and as a faculty member of the Urban Teacher Education Department. As chairperson, Dr. Farrow was responsible for the Developmental Education curriculum. He also served concomitantly as the Trio Director (Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Program) and the Educational Opportunity Fund. After his chairmanship, Dr. Farrow assumed an active role at the GSE working closely with then Dean Louise Wilkinson especially on increasing the number of minority students at the GSE.

Dr. Samuel Proctor came to Rutgers to serve as Assistant to the President and as a Professor of Education. His work included helping the university move the needle on diversity. Motivated by their shared commitment to advancing diversity and equity at the university, Dr. Farrow reached out to Dr. Proctor and they developed both a professional and a personal relationship.

Dr. Farrow felt a great sense of loss in 1997, when Dr. Proctor passed away. “I felt that as a university community, we should do something to honor Dr. Proctor’s service to Rutgers and the GSE,” said Dr. Farrow. “I proposed a scholarship to GSE Dean Wilkinson and she suggested establishing an endowed chair at Rutgers GSE to honor Dr. Proctor and to continue his legacy and I wholeheartedly agreed.”

Rutgers made a significant financial commitment to establish the chair and Dr. Earl Farrow was one of its founding contributors and continued to financially support the chair thereafter. Internationally renowned expert in literacy education, Dr. Dorothy Strickland was appointed as the first Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair followed by esteemed expert in the field of diversity in education, Dr. Fred Bonner in 2012. World-renowned leader in diversity and equity in higher education, Dr. Marybeth Gasman was recently appointed to serve as the third Proctor Chair.

“We are grateful to Dr. Farrow as his work at Rutgers and legacy through his considerable support of the Proctor Chair which continues to help further the GSE’s mission to Advance Excellence and Equity in Education,” said Rutgers GSE Dean Wanda J. Blanchett. “Dr. Farrow’s work at Rutgers and GSE has helped to empower thousands of young people of color to successfully pursue college and graduate from Rutgers and his support of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education continues his remarkable legacy to advance diversity and equity in education.”