UMW Announces Nomination Process for James Farmer Lecture

The University of Mary Washington has announced important changes to the James Farmer Lecture, a program that has honored the legacy of former UMW professor James Farmer for the past decade. The popular address will be continued as an annual lecture presented by a leader in the areas of civil rights and social justice. As a way to recognize the role Farmer played in enriching the intellectual life of Mary Washington, the lecture will be held every fall on the Fredericksburg campus starting next year.

James Farmer received the Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1998.

In addition, nominations will be open to the community. The lecturer chosen will be a person whose work exemplifies Farmer’s qualities and traits through his or her contributions to civil rights and social justice as an activist, scholar, public official or professional.

“As an organizer, activist, and scholar, Dr. Farmer understood the importance of community engagement and believed in the power of individuals to transform their communities in positive and meaningful ways,” said Tim O’Donnell, professor and member of the Farmer Lecture and Post-Doctoral Committee. “James Farmer brought the lessons of a life lived on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights and social justice to the greater UMW community when he lived and worked in the region as Mary Washington’s beloved Distinguished Professor of History and American Studies. Consequently, it is only appropriate that any member of the UMW community may nominate an individual to be honored with a title linked to his name and legacy.”

Any member of the UMW community can submit a nomination, as well as students and members of the Fredericksburg community. To nominate an individual to give the James Farmer Lecture, visit and complete the nomination form. Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis, but only those received by December 1 will be considered for the following year. The James Farmer Lecture and Post-Doctoral Committee will review all nominations and select the lecturer.

James Farmer was a pioneer of the civil rights movement, as the founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and the organizer of the 1961 Freedom Rides. He taught civil rights history at Mary Washington for more than a decade and received the Medal of Freedom in 1998, shortly before his death in 1999.

For more information about the James Farmer Lecture, visit

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


  1. Andrea Mason says:

    This is more than superb!!

  2. Charles Reed Jr. says:

    This is fantastic!