Giving Something Back: The Right Thing for People Like Us to Do
When "teacher ed." major Arthur E. Farnham reported to Springfield College his first year in 1950, he brought the normal array of clothing and books and sports equipment, a wife, and a two-year-old son.
Just out of the Marines and one of the first Korean War vets to take advantage of the G.I. bill, Farnham was eager to pursue his dream of being a cross-country and track coach and was enormously grateful that he didn't have to pay a dime in tuition. He did, however, have a family to support, and what Springfield College did to help him back in those days, he will never forget.
"They made me family housing on campus, and they gave me all the jobs they could think of. Between classes and work, I didn't end up with the same 'go back to the dorm and get to know the other students' experience that some college students have, but I had other, really wonderful experiences. For instance, one of the jobs they gave me, as an undergraduate, was to be the assistant track coach. That's unheard of! But they believed in me, and supported me being able to stay and finish my education."
Finish, he did, and was immediately hired as a coach in Tarrytown, N.Y. A fellow Springfield College man then tapped Farnham to come to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to coach track, and he flourished there for seventeen years. Farnham retired from M.I.T. to accept the fulltime directorship of Camp Namquoit in Orleans, Massachusetts - the boys camp where he had served as assistant director every summer for almost two decades - "and the job came with the offer of a home on the water. Who could resist?" he recalls with a laugh.
Now 82, still playing tennis almost daily and enjoying "true" retirement to the fullest, Art and his wife, Jerauldine, have recently made arrangements to bequest Springfield College a significant portion of their estate.
"I think if you attended Springfield College, and took advantage of everything they offered, and built a life from it, when you are done enjoying the benefits of all that, they deserve to get something back," Farnham says. "It's only right. They were very, very good to me, and I know they will take this gift and turn it into something that is good for many others. Giving something back. It's just the right thing for people like us to do."
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