Alumni Profile—Farmer Legacy Family

Raising strong-willed and independent daughters, Jill and John Farmer knew their girls would want to chart their own course when it came to choosing a college, though they certainly thought Drake should be on the list.

After all, Drake University is where Jill and John’s story together began. Jill (Lingwall) Farmer, JO’91, first noticed John, AS’92, as the emcee for Bulldog Tales, an annual campus variety show. However, it wasn’t until the next fall when they worked together in the Admissions office that they decided to go on their first date. Twenty-six years of marriage later, and the rest is history.

But their Drake story didn’t end when they graduated. As a member of the National Alumni Board, John stays connected with alums across the country. Both John and Jill help Drake graduates network with successful
St. Louis alumni. Given their ongoing involvement, Drake was an obvious choice for their daughters, but they didn’t push it.

“Our oldest, Peyton, made it very clear she wanted to go her own way,” notes Jill. But then something happened during the college search process. “We were in Des Moines visiting family and she begrudgingly let us show her campus. Turns out, she really liked it and that began to turn the tide.”

Next it was time for their daughter, Jane, to make her decision. “After Peyton enrolled, I think that only strengthened her younger sister’s resolve to go some place even farther away,” jokes John. In the end, Jane was likewise drawn in by the people and opportunities at Drake. Both have continued the Farmer family Drake story. Peyton will graduate this spring after spending a semester in Barcelona and a J-Term in Africa. Jane, a first-year, also looks forward to blending global learning into her Drake experience.

“Although we never pushed it, I must admit it’s been pretty exciting having our girls at Drake,” says John. “We get to share our old traditions and watch from a distance as they make their own Drake memories. It’s been more fun than I ever imagined.”