The beginning of the Farber Fund was marked on May 8, 1976. That was the date of a recognition dinner for Dr. William O. (Doc) Farber on the occasion of his retirement. He had been associated with USD since the fall of 1935 and had served as chairman of the Department of Government (later Political Science) for 38 years.
The dinner was organized by Ted Muenster and Tom Geary, both of the Political Science Department, and moderated by Tom Brokaw, anchor of NBC Nightly News and USD alumnus. The banquet was attended by more than 200 people, mostly former political science majors, and former Governors Kneip, Farrar, Gubbrud and Foss. At the dinner it was announced that a fund was to be established to honor Doc Farber, and at his suggestion it was to be called the "Farber Internship and Travel Fund". It was Doc Farber's desire that the emphasis be on aiding political science students. He felt that what young South Dakotans needed most was the opportunity to travel in the U.S. and abroad and to accept internships which would enrich their backgrounds and broaden their horizons.
By the time of the executive board's annual meeting in 1989, the endowment had surpassed the $300,000 level. The board then set a new goal of $750,000 in contributions by the end of the next 10-year period (1991-2001), which would mean a total of $1,000,000 in appreciated assets.
As of today, the Fund totals approximately $4,500,000. This means that about $170,000 is available each year as interest income to fund grants for student internships, research-related travel, scholarships and other appropriate activities. The Fund now annually supports more than 300 majors who participate in dozens of group and individual activities.
An idea of the variety and richness of Farber Fund uses may be gained from the following partial list of activities that regularly have been supported by the Fund:
- Students take part in regional mock trial tournaments.
- International Relations students take part in Model United Nations Conferences.
- Students attend Midwest Political Science Association conventions in Chicago.
- Students take part in spring study tours of Washington, DC.
- Students study abroad in France, England, Germany, Italy and Cuba.