Michael Ferrari, TCU’s chancellor from 1993-2003, was remembered Monday as an accomplished leader whose work advanced the university in a time of transition.
During Mr. Ferrari’s tenure, student enrollment eclipsed 8,000 first for the first time. It was also when the building boom that has transformed TCU began. The University Recreation Center was built, several residence halls were renovated and TCU’s athletic teams became more competitive.
In 2001, Mr. Ferrari worked to approve a $189 million university budget, and oversaw a $30 million classroom and laboratory renovation project. Mr. Ferrari also worked to secure the funding for Tucker Technology Center.
“He built on the accomplishments of his predecessors and provided a solid foundation for his successors,” wrote Don Mills, who served as vice chancellor for student affairs while Mr. Ferrari was chancellor.
In a speech Mr. Ferrari gave at his installation, he described his vision for TCU’s future. He strived to create a partnership with the City of Fort Worth to enrich the city’s intellectual, economic and cultural development.
“I see many opportunities for the coming decade: the opportunity to achieve greater prominence in American independent higher education and theological education with several programs,” Ferrari said.
Mr. Ferrari was also the first TCU chancellor not affiliated with the Disciples of Christ Church. Current Chancellor Victor Boschini is the second.
Boschini said Mr. Ferrari was helpful when he first came to TCU 13 years ago. Mr. Ferrari and his wife invited Boschini and his wife, Megan, to stay at their home.
“I’m deeply saddened about the fight he carried for five years. It was tough for his family,” Boschini said.
The annual Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished University Service and Leadership was named for him.
Jeffrey Geider, the director of the institute of ranch management, received the award in 2013.
“It meant a tremendous amount because it was in his name,” Geider said. “He was a wonderful man. I wrote him a letter telling him that.”
When Mr. Ferrari retired from TCU, he moved to the Chicago area to spend time with his children and grandchildren. He kept close ties to the TCU community.
Mills says he’ll remember Mr. Ferrari as more than just TCU’s chancellor.
“I personally considered him a mentor and friend,” Mills said.
Ferrari is survived by his wife, Jan, his children Michael and Elizabeth, and grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.