Washington & Lee official reflects on Virginia Sen. John Warner’s impact to university

Roanoke Valley News

LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — According to school officials at Washington & Lee University, the legacy of one of Virginia’s longest-serving senators will continue to live on.

U.S. Sen. John Warner died on Tuesday, May 25 of heart failure while surrounded by his wife Jeanne and daughter Virginia, his longtime chief of staff Susan Magill says.

For Jim Farrar, Secretary for Washington & Lee University, losing a friend is bittersweet.

“His impact at Washington & Lee was really, very significant,” Farrar said.

Warner was a notable alumnus at the university. He began his undergraduate degree in 1946 and graduated in 1949. Warner was a part of the same class as Farrar’s father.

“He was a delight,” said Farrar.

Along with his influential contributions, from military service to lawmaking, Warner always made time to give back to the school.

“Whenever he returned to campus,” said Farrar, “he wanted to walk the campus and regale folks with stories of his time here.”

Warner also reflected on the growth he had while attending.

“He would talk often of the impact that the university’s honor system had on him as an undergraduate,” Farrar said, “and when times got tough in his later life, he would always talk about how the honor system buoyed him and strengthened his resolve going forward.”

Warner was a part of the university’s Board of Trustees from 1969 to 1980. In 2009, he was presented with the Washington Award, the school’s highest honor.

Two years before, school officials created the “John Warner Public Service Award,” highlighting philanthropic contributions in the community and serving as another marker to honor his legacy.

“People around campus know who John Warner was and his relationship to the university, and to Virginia, and the country,” said Farrar.

Warner was longtime friend Farrar will never forget.

“He was quite a man,” says Farrar.

Washington & Lee University’s formal obituary on Warner can be found here.

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