They shared a microscope in Lula Gough’s botany class at John Tarleton Agricultural College, but that was enough to kindle a romance between John Farley and Lillie May Reid. That spark, lit in the 1930-31 school year, started a long marriage and a deep love for Tarleton State University.
The connection reached another level recently when the couple were honored with the naming of the Farley Education Building at the Timberlake Biological Field Station and the placing of a microscope from the Tarleton biology lab.
Five generations of Farleys have enjoyed friendship with the facility’s namesake Timberlake and Johanson families. The families have been close for a century.
“Education is very important throughout the Farley family,” Dr. Lamar Johanson said in remarks at the naming ceremony. “Lillie May had an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, and the three boys are all graduates of Texas A&M. There is at least one PhD in the family and several master’s degrees, and one of John and Lillie May’s great-granddaughters recently received her bachelor of nursing degree from Texas Tech.”
Dr. Johanson, a university benefactor himself, is retired from Tarleton after a distinguished career as professor and dean.
The new classroom building gifted from the John and Lillie May Farley family will expand undergraduate and graduate research in areas ranging from aquatic and plant ecology to herpetology and ornithology.
Area school children find the field station a special place for learning. A goal is to excite K-12 students about the natural world while involving them in the scientific process. To this end, TBFS has partnered with the Alvarado, Comanche and Goldthwaite school districts to host events throughout the school year.
The field station was established in 2015 to advance environmental research, engage students in scientific discovery and promote stewardship of the natural world. It focuses on education, outreach and research associated with the ecological integrity of the Colorado River and the diverse flora and fauna of the Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau ecoregions of Texas.
It serves as a host site for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and is a member of the Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network, both sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
To learn more visit https://www.tarleton.edu/timberlakeranch/index.html. To donate to the station visit https://donate.tarleton.edu/o/tarleton-university/i/evergreen/s/college-of-science-technology.