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In Memoriam, Jim Farley

Jim Farley accepts awardJames Farley, an electrical engineering alumnus who turned a small manufacturing company into an international corporation, spent much of his earnings to better the lives of students at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

His most generous donation to the school endowed the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which has helped educate hundreds of students and faculty members on the theory and practice of entrepreneurship.

James Farley passed away August 22, 2012, at age 84.

• Click here to read more about Jim Farley's contributions to McCormick.

Video Content

• Watch a special thank-you presentation for James Farley at the 2012 e@nu conference

• Watch the documentary "A Lit Match - Igniting Entrepreneurship - The Jim Farley Story"

Professional Timeline

1950: Farley graduates from Northwestern University as an electrical engineer and starts his career as a test engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, NY.

1960: Farley joins SpeedLap (now SpeedFam-IPEC), which manufactures machines.

1961-1974: The company grows and expands outside of the U.S. into Europe, Latin America, and Japan. Profits exceed $200,000 and sales exceed $2 million by 1974.

1975: Farley splits SpeedFam with co-founder Boettcher.

1980: President Jimmy Carter recognizes James Farley at a White House conference on small business.

1983: The Export Executive of the Year is awarded to Farley at the forty-sixth annual Chicago World Trade Conference.

1996: A $2 million dollar gift establishes the James N. and Nancy J. Farley Professorship. A $5 million dollar gift intended for the reconstruction of the Technological Institute renames the mechanical engineering hall to the “James N. and Nancy J. Farley Wing.”

1997: Farley is named 1997 Entrepreneur of the Year by USA Today, Ernst & Young, the Kauffman Foundation, and Nasdaq.

2008: The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is established to help provide Northwestern students with the training to evolve engineering beyond the application of sciences and to the creation of innovative businesses.

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