Larry Fariss '75
An Evolution of Giving - Time to Treasure
For Larry Fariss ’75, the USAFA experience always involved giving his time. It started when he entered Squadron 20 as a doolie and continued until well beyond his retirement from active duty in 2004. It began with him committing his spare cadet hours to athletics (wrestling and football) and leadership (CS 4 operations officer and football team captain), and it set a pattern that continued throughout his Air Force Career. As a junior officer he served as a graduate assistant football coach and recruiter as well as an Academy admissions liaison officer helping cadet candidates pursue their USAFA dreams. His final active duty assignments brought him back to the Academy as a colonel, where he served as director of athletic programs and then commander of the Prep School.
Once retired, remaining in Colorado Springs permitted him and his wife, Michelle, to still be involved with Academy life. They have sponsored 25 cadets, he has served on the board of the Association of Graduates and the AOG Class Advisory Senate, and is currently a Prop & Wings officer and chairman of Class of ’75 reunion gift committee.
“I have come full circle, from when my time was spoken for to now being able to give back at my own pace. And I love being fully immersed in the fabric of this great place,” says the proud father of three sons, one of whom, Lt. Col. JD Fariss ’01, joined him as part of the Long Blue Line.
Fariss now spends his non-Academy hours coaching football and wrestling at Air Academy High School, chairing a few community volunteer organizations and pursuing outdoor endeavors, such as hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, bicycling across America and skiing throughout the Rockies. Michelle Fariss is a retired school teacher and reading specialist who focuses on their five grandchildren. She is Mom Fariss to all the cadets who come through their home.
“The next evolution in our commitment to the Academy was to move from predominantly giving our time to ramping up the sharing of treasure,” Fariss says. “We began by making a decision to share our blessings and have furnished financial support to help Air Force Academy athletic teams, the AOG and Endowment. When we realized we will end up with more assets than we can reasonably anticipate needing, our trust was amended to leave a future legacy gift for USAFA.” Their generosity is acknowledged by Sabre Society, Falcon Pride Club and Polaris Society recognition.
“The Academy changed the entire direction of my and my family’s life. For that we have always been grateful and wanted to help others achieve their dreams. As a younger couple, we focused on giving back time. Now the focus is largely on sharing our treasure, and it feels good,” Fariss says.