Farley Chair in Legal Studies Endowed

$1.5M gift

By Patricia Delaney
Director of Media Relations

Boston College Law School has received a $1.5 million gift from alumnus William F. Farley, chairman and chief executive officer of Fruit of the Loom Inc. The gift - the largest the Law School has received from an alumnus - will fund the William F. Farley Chair in legal studies, the first chair at the Law School to be endowed by an alumnus.

"We are grateful to William Farley for his support," said Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ. "The endowment of a chair in law will greatly assist the Law School in attracting the finest legal scholars and strengthen its position as one of the very best law schools in the country."

"We have greatly prized William Farley's relationship with the Law School over the years," said Law School Dean Aviam Soifer. "This gift, an example of his commitment for which we are extremely grateful, substantially advances our academic mission."

"The Boston College Law School has played a very important role in my life and I am extremely grateful to the institution and its wonderful faculty and administration," said Farley. "I am delighted to make this gift to one of the best law schools in the nation."

Farley is the owner and chairman of Farley Industries, one of the nation's largest privately held industrial corporations, and the largest stockholder in Fruit of the Loom Inc., of which he has been chairman and chief executive officer since he acquired the company in 1986. Farley has built Fruit of the Loom Inc. into a leading international manufacturer and marketer of basic family apparel with sales of approximately $2.3 billion for the 1997 fiscal year. Today, the company employs more than 30,000 people in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Farley, who has been called "Chicago's ultimate entrepreneur," began his business career in finance and operations at NL Industries. In 1973, he joined the investment banking firm of Lehman Brothers in corporate finance. While at Lehman Brothers, he purchased his first company, Anaheim Citrus Products (ACP) of Anaheim, Calif. Farley's personal investment of $25,000 in ACP in 1976 became the foundation for a series of acquisitions which culminated in his $1.4 billion purchase in 1985 of Northwest Industries Inc. of Chicago, which included Fruit of the Loom Inc. In March of 1987, he successfully completed the initial $565 million public offering of Fruit of the Loom Inc.

Farley was born and raised in Pawtucket, RI. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1964 from Bowdoin College - which has since awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree - and a juris doctor degree from Boston College Law School in 1969. In 1984, the Boston College Law School Alumni Association named Farley its Outstanding Businessman graduate of the year.

In addition to his business activities, Farley is a member of the World Presidents' Organization, the Chicago Club and the Northwestern University Associates. He sits on various educational, civic and cultural boards, including the Horatio Alger Association Board of Directors, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, American Textile Manufacturers Institute, American Apparel Manufacturers Association and Rush Hospital Heart Institute.

Farley recently received the Ireland-US Council for Commerce and Industry's Annual Outstanding Achievement Award for his efforts to improve economic, business and commercial links between Ireland and the United States. He also was named to Irish America magazine's 1997 Business 100 list.

Additional honors he has received include the Apparel Industry Board, Inc.'s Special Award, the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans, the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award, the National Women's Political Caucus' Good Guys Award and the White House's Presidential Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Farley's philanthropic activities include a $3.5 million gift to Bowdoin College in 1984, which led to the construction of the William Farley Field House, dedicated in 1987. In the mid-1980s, he established a Farley Scholars' Fund at Boston College. In 1996, a $1 million gift to his Rhode Island alma mater, St. Raphael Academy, was used to start an advanced placement biology course, enhance athletic programs and fund scholarships - in addition to Farley's and Fruit of the Loom, Inc.'s previous financial support for a computer center, science classrooms and other facilities at the school.

Farley resides in Chicago with his wife, Shelley, and their three sons, Hayes, Scott and Liam.

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