A lasting legacy: Richard Farmer, founder of Miami’s famed international business school, dies

Cintas company founder Richard "Dick" Farmer, who created the internationally acclaimed Miami University Farmer School of Business, died Wednesday, say school officials, after a long illness. Farmer was also a former trustee with Miami and held numerous other positions with the school he graduated from in 1956. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
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Cintas company founder Richard "Dick" Farmer, who created the internationally acclaimed Miami University Farmer School of Business, died Wednesday, say school officials, after a long illness. Farmer was also a former trustee with Miami and held numerous other positions with the school he graduated from in 1956. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

‘A remarkable person who will be greatly missed.’

One of the most influential of Miami University’s many famous graduates has died.

Richard “Dick” Farmer, founding contributor to Miami’s internationally acclaimed Farmer School of Business, died Wednesday after suffering a period of declining health, said school officials.

The 86-year-old, who graduated from Miami in 1956, was founder and chairman emeritus of Cintas Corp, a $17 billion public company with more than 40,000 employees that is the nation’s leading supplier of uniforms.

A former Miami trustee, Farmer was recognized regionally and nationally as a premier business leader including twice being named CEO of the year by Financial World magazine.

“Dick Farmer’s guidance, insight, support and generosity toward Miami University throughout the years has been immeasurable,” Miami University President Gregory Crawford said. “His contributions to the Farmer School of Business and to Miami University have afforded generations of students as well as faculty and staff members a lifetime of personal and career success. We will dearly miss him.”

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Farmer, who graduated from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, left his mark on the university through the Farmer School of Business and a history of service to his alma mater, Miami officials said in a release.

“In 1992, he and his wife, Joyce Barnes Farmer (Miami ‘57), provided the cornerstone gift to the School of Business. A little more than a decade later, they announced a $30 million leadership gift through the Farmer Family Foundation, of which $25 million helped underwrite the construction of the Farmer School of Business building, his namesake.”

The Farmer School of Business regularly attracts international and nationally acclaimed speakers to the school’s main Oxford campus.

Farmer, a U.S. Marine veteran, also served terms as a university trustee, foundation board member and chair of the business school’s board of visitors.

“When the position of dean of the Farmer School was announced, I researched to learn more about its namesake,” said Jenny Darroch, the school’s current dean. “I came away with a tremendous amount of respect for a man who so strongly believed in the value of education as a way to positively impact the future. It also told me that this school and this university must be incredibly special for a graduate to feel compelled to give so much of his time, talent and treasure to support and enhance it.”

Farmer’s business acumen and community-centric attitude resulted in recognition on the local, regional and national level. He was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame, named E&Y’s entrepreneur of the year and honored by the Cincinnati USA Regional chamber as one of the “Great Living Cincinnatians.”

“As a former chair of Miami’s Board of Trustees, Dick was a role model for those of us who would follow in his footsteps,” said David Budig, board chairman. “His generosity, kind heart, and deep commitment to Miami have left an indelible mark on this university. He truly was a remarkable person who will be greatly missed.”