Campus statue unveiled for Miami U. business school backer

OXFORD — During its long history, few Miami University grads have impacted their former school as profoundly as acclaimed businessman Richard Farmer, who more than a half century ago founded the Cincinnati-based Cintas Corporation.

Miami’s Richard T. Farmer School of Business has attracted top business students, nationally prominent speakers over the decades and many notable graduates who have gone on to make their mark as successful captains of industry domestically and internationally.

Earlier this month Miami officials celebrated Farmer, who died in 2021, and his wife Joyce by unveiling the Farmer Family Sculpture Park featuring a bronze sculpture of the two.

“This is the day that we celebrate the remarkable legacy and the generosity of the Farmer family and honor the deep commitments and the extraordinary impact of Dick and Joyce Farmer,” said Miami President Gregory Crawford at the May 16 unveiling ceremony.

“They wanted to create the best business school in the country (with) a global footprint and also an economic engine for Ohio and the nation and the world, which they did. Mission accomplished,” said Crawford.

“Dick and Joyce have made us better and advanced this institution in a really big way.”

After graduating from Miami University in 1956 with a business degree, Farmer served in the U.S. Marine Corps and then joined the family business.

In the late 1960s, Farmer launched the Cintas Corporation. Farmer then took Cintas public in 1983 and continued to lead it as chairman and CEO until 1995, surpassing $1 billion in sales for the first time, said Miami officials.

He remained as chairman of the Fortune 500 company for the next 14 years, and in 2009, was elected chairman emeritus, a position he held until his passing in 2021. His service to Miami University included terms as a university trustee, foundation board member, and chair of the Board of Visitors of the Richard T. Farmer School of Business.

Joyce Barnes Farmer earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1957 and has served on Miami University’s Parents’ Council, Reunion Committee, and the School of Education and Allied Professions’ Advisory Council.

According to Miami officials, in 1992 the Farmers provided the cornerstone financial gift to the School of Business. In 2005, 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.

The Farmers’ scholarship fund has helped many financially struggling business students locally and from across America attend the widely acclaimed school.

“I can tell you that dad would be very proud to be here today and to see this,” said son Scott Farmer.

“While he was never one to brag, he would often tell me how proud he was to have his name associated with the business school at Miami. He wanted it to be the best.”

“He would tell me how much Miami meant to him and the impact that it had on his life. And he wanted to preserve that opportunity, that potential for young people for years to come.”

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