Here at Margaret Farmer University, we’ve an academic tradition going back fifty years, to our days as an agricultural college. Founded by the Farmer family, we are named after our first president, whose brother was the college’s first Chief Fiscal Officer.
The older generation of the Farmer family, known affectionately as “Ma” and “Pa,” set the tone for the institution from the very first. Pa Farmer, a cigar aficionado, liked to get right in people’s faces, making his opinions abundantly clear and brooking no opposition. He and Ma lived in a closed-up brick building by the National Guard armory at the edge of campus.
Ma Farmer was the resident moralist, holding required seminars for faculty and staff on topics of religion, humanity, and the law. People claim that it was she, more than Pa, who was the brains of the agricultural operation that made the family fortune. Perhaps because of her boundless energy, she always looked much younger than her years.
Their son, the CFO, ran a tight ship. He watched every nickel and dime and kept close control of salaries—a tradition that continues to this day. He had a system of touring the campus, backslapping any employees he encountered with his famous grin, seeking infractions he could correct through a system of fines and other penalties.
President Farmer had her own clear ideas on how education should be operated—and the tradition continues. She expected us on the faculty to toe her line, no matter what ideas of our own we may have had. After all, it was her college, not ours. People learn, she believed, by rote, by learning their lines and repeating them. Individuality has no place on the college campus—after all, it is not what employers look for.
MFU, we like to say, is the college of today and of the future.