College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

FSOS community mourns passing of alumnus

The University of the Incarnate Word announced last week the sudden death of UIW Provost Dr. Farrell Webb. Webb was a PhD alumnus of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science and was honored with a College of Education and Human Development Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017.  Throughout his career, Webb had a long history of building programs, leading organizational change, championing access, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (ADEIB), and supporting faculty and staff development. Dr. Webb had joined UIW in June.

"I was so saddened and shocked to learn of Farrell's untimely death," says Harold Grotevant, FSOS professor emeritus and former department head. "The world is a lesser place without his presence. As he advanced in the academic world, he was always opening doors for others. He will long be honored and remembered."

Bill Doherty, professor in Family Social Science, shared the story of how Webb came to the PhD program: "There was some confusion because he was nearly finished with a PhD in a related field at another University and it wasn't clear why he wanted to start over at Minnesota, so I called and left him a message. His reply was a thorough voice mail explaining the situation (among other things, his advisor had died) and his eagerness to begin again in the field. I forwarded that message to the rest of the admissions committee so that they could hear it in Farrell's own voice–and we enthusiastically admitted him to the doctoral program. The rest, as they say, is history. Farrell exuded energy and passion for his work, and he reveled in telling that story to his students! We will all miss him."

"Farrell was in my grad classes, and was the brightest and wittiest of all," says Pauline Boss, professor emerita. "Then he became a respected colleague at NCFR and rose to the heights he truly deserved. I am so sorry he is gone. I will not forget him."

Previous to UIW, Webb was provost administrative fellow and professor as well as a college dean at California State University­–Northridge (CSUN). He increased retention and graduation rates and led the implementation of new policies and approaches to support student success and hiring diverse faculty. 

He also served in several roles at Kansas State University (Manhattan) and was recognized with five Presidential awards for teaching and service to students with disabilities, mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, and supporting women in the sciences.

Tai Mendenhall, FSOS professor who received his master's in Marriage and Family Therapy at KSU, remembers Webb warmly, "Farrell was a wonderful, supportive, engaging, and inspiring professor and mentor (and later, friend) when I was a master's student at KSU, and over the years since this time. He will forever be a light in my path."

A native of Southern California, Webb earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology/political science and communication arts, with an emphasis in film and television production, from Loyola Marymount University. He received master's degrees in Sociology (social psychology) from CSU Long Beach and New York University (applied statistics) in addition to his doctoral degree from the U of M. 

In 2019, he was honored with the Marie Peters Award from the National Council on Family Relations for outstanding service to the organization and support of people of color in their scholarship. 


More about Webb


Here is the video of the University of Incarnate Word memorial service. 

He recorded this video in 2010 for NCFR about how NCFR and his alma mater contributed to his career.