Dr. William Farrar ’71 Named CEO of Major Cancer Hospital and Research Institute

Dec. 11, 2019

William Farrar
Dr. William Farrar ’71

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Dr. William Farrar ’71 was recently named CEO of the Ohio State University Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Farrar graduated from Illinois Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in biology. While a student, Dr. Farrar competed on the IWU football, basketball and golf teams.

“I knew before I went to college that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine,” said Dr. Farrar. “IWU was known for having a strong science department and played a major role in assisting students who hoped to go into medicine. Dr. Dorothea Franzen, who taught biology, and Dr. Wendell Hess, who taught chemistry, were also really influential in leading my way to medical school.”

After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan in 1971, Dr. Farrar earned a medical degree at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville before starting an internship at Ohio State.

Dr. Farrar is a surgical oncologist and has a long, successful history with Ohio State, serving on the James medical staff since it opened in 1990. The late Dr. Arthur G. James, for whom the hospital is named, mentored and later worked alongside Farrar.

“The opportunity to become CEO of the James is the highlight of my career. Dr. James, who is the person the hospital is named after, was my mentor and the one person that got me interested in surgical oncology,” Farrar explained. “It’s truly an honor to be here and to continue to be able to do what I love.”

Dr. Farrar is one of the nation’s foremost experts in breast cancer, serving as the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center Director since 2011. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been the principal investigator on many grants and pivotal clinical trials in breast cancer.

Dr. Farrar was named CEO after two years serving as the hospital’s interim leader. He also holds the Dr. Arthur G. and Mildred C. James – Richard J. Solove Chair in Surgical Oncology and is a member of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Research Program in The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“What I enjoy most about being a surgical oncologist is the personal and life-long relationships I’m able to develop with my patients,” said Farrar. “After spending many years treating my patients, many become like family.”

His national honors include 18 appearances on the Castle Connolly list of "America’s Top Doctors" and 16 appearances on the “Best Doctors in America” list, as well as being rated in the top 10% of physicians in the nation for patient satisfaction in 2017.

Dr. Farrar and his wife, Kathryn, reside in Dublin, Ohio. They have four children and five grandchildren.

By Megan Baker ’21