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Retired teacher proud of Lancer heritage

Marilyn Farnworth (née Morris) counts a meeting with then-Detroit Piston—now Detroit mayor—Dave Bing and an on-campus concert by Ike and Tina Turner among some of her fondest memories of her time at the University of Windsor, but it was the camaraderie among students and faculty support she says best marked her student experience.

Farnworth, who attended UWindsor from 1972 to 1976 as a kinesiology and math student and later a teacher candidate, came home to Windsor following a year at the University of Western Ontario, seeking smaller class sizes and a “personalized atmosphere.”

She found out about the Are You Proud? campaign during an alumni wine and cheese reception at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery on May 16 and was eager to tell her story and share some memories.

“I had Father Faught for calculus,” she recalls. “He was unbelievable! He would start writing formulas on the blackboard from one side of the room to the next for the whole class period. Fortunately, I had a TA to help tutor me and bail me out when I was overwhelmed. Doc Thomas for kinesiology was a lot of fun and very interested in each one of his students. He also was an amazing coach and he coached our (men’s) basketball team to the Ontario championships!”

She also fondly remembers a very young Margery Holman, whom she calls an “inspirational instructor.”

A kinesiology assignment in which students were tasked with analyzing a sporting move led to Farnworth travelling to Detroit to film Dave Bing’s jump shot for scrutiny during a team practice.

“I honestly don’t remember how I managed to arrange it but I was able to go over there and film him,” she says. “I was courtside during practice. It was very exciting and he was very nice, very approachable.”

A homecoming concert featuring the Ike and Tina Revue was held in the south campus area where the stadium now sits and is another treasured memory, as is Farnworth’s time as a cheerleader, when the Lancer men’s basketball team won the provincial championships. The legendary team was Ontario champion for three seasons running beginning in 1970.

“I really enjoyed the classes and social atmosphere,” Farnworth says. “The friendships and association with the profs on a personal level was what made it special. My instructors were helpful and friendly and the classes were small so they knew each one of us by our names.”

Farnworth is now retired after a 27-year career with the Peel District School Board and teaches fitness classes in her home studio and for the Town of Kingsville.  She applauds UWindsor’s growth and says she is proud to be part of its heritage.

“I’m quite impressed with what is being done to make Windsor more of an international university,” she says. “With the expansion into downtown they will have more to offer to people from Windsor and from outside the region.”