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In Memoriam | Summer 2021

In Memoriam: Thomas F. Farrell II

December 1, 1954–April 2, 2021

Former UVA rector, Dominion CEO left imprint on many community causes

If we can help, we have a responsibility to help,” Tom Farrell (Col ’76, Law ’79 CM) said in a profile published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2017.

Thomas F. Farrell II David Skinner

Farrell, a former UVA rector and member of the Board of Visitors who died April 2, 2021, lived up to that creed. The longtime president and CEO of Dominion Energy was remembered as much for his community service and philanthropy as for his colossal influence on business, policymaking, civic life, higher education and the arts in Virginia.

Farrell grew up in Fairfax County and earned a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communication studies from UVA in 1976 and a law degree in 1979. After 15 years as a litigator, he joined Dominion as general counsel in 1995. He was named president and chief operating officer in 2004 and president and chief executive officer in 2006, and he was elected chairman in 2007.

Farrell was a member of the Seven SOcietyHe oversaw a period of robust growth for the company, which serves about 7 million customers in several states.

Farrell served as UVA rector from 2005 to 2007 and on the Board of Visitors from 2001 to 2009. During his term as rector, the University launched a $3 billion capital campaign.

“No alumnus demonstrated more loyalty and devotion to the University than Tom—remarkable by any standard, but even more so given his responsibilities as CEO of such a large corporation as Dominion Resources,” said Whitt Clement (Col ’70, Law ’74), vice rector of the Board of Visitors.

Farrell served on an array of boards, including the trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He led the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform and served on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

He also left an imprint on the city of Richmond by leading renovations of a performing arts center downtown and the Altria Theater and by serving as co-chairman of the UCI Road World Championships bicycle races held there in 2015.

“It’s hard to think of an individual who has had a greater impact on the growth and success of our city in the 21st century more than Tom Farrell,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Much of Farrell’s work at UVA took place behind the scenes, said Pat Lampkin (Educ ’86), former vice president and chief student affairs officer at the University. Farrell’s affection for UVA could be seen at football games, where he enjoyed taking his grandchildren in recent years, Lampkin said.

“To see his joy packing their stuffed animals into clear plastic bags so he could carry them into the football stadium for them was to see Tom’s heart.”

Farrell is survived by his wife, Anne Garland (Educ ’77 CM), sons Peter (Col ’06 CM) and Stuart (Com ’07 CM), and brother Timothy (Col ’78 CM).

 —Ed Miller