ARCS Award Honors Helen Jones Farrar
Each spring, the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists
(ARCS) Foundation presents the Helen Jones Farrar Award to
an outstanding Institute for Astronomy graduate student. The
award serves as a memorial to the late Helen Jones Farrar,
a trailblazing woman who was fascinated by science and astronomy.
Farrar was born in the early 1890s to the wealthy kamaaina
family that founded the Bank of Hawaii, Hawaiian Trust Company,
and Palama Settlement. She graduated from Oahu College (now
Punahou School) and Smith College, where she majored in science.
Well-educated and ahead of her time in many respects, Farrar
held the first driver’s license issued to a woman in
the Territory of Hawaii. She also raced powerboats and supplied
the prize-winning asparagus she had grown to ships and restaurants
in the islands. She and her husband, R. J. H. Farrar, lived
on Oahu and at Waimea on the Big Island.
Farrar’s love affair with the stars began when she witnessed
the construction of Mauna Kea’s original telescopes.
Coupled with her background in science and without children
of her own, she took a keen interest in the young people studying
It was Farrar’s nephew, Russell Richards, and his wife,
Timmie, a long-time member and former president of ARCS, who
conceived of the Helen Jones Farrar Award as a meaningful and
permanent memorial that captured Helen’s abiding interest
in astronomy and its students. By 1990, the year of Mrs. Farrar’s
death, the Helen Jones Farrar Trust had contributed $100,000
to the University of Hawaii Foundation to establish an endowed
fund to support the award in perpetuity.
Catherine Hay Richards, grandniece of Mrs. Farrar and a daughter
of Russell and Timmie Richards, stated, “My great-aunt
Helen and my entire family have always subscribed to the notion
of giving back to the community that gives you everything you
hold dear. This is reflected in our community involvement,
our faith, and our charitable work for good and worthy causes.
ARCS is one such wonderful cause—and I know my aunt Helen
is smiling down on all the good work done by ARCS in Hawaii,
and by the IfA at UH and the UH Foundation. She is pleased
to have helped.”
The recipient of the $5,000 Farrar Award must be an American
citizen and a full-time student whose grade point average is
at least 3.5. The recipient may use the award for any purpose
related to his or her graduate studies in astronomy, such as
paying for observing expenses, traveling to present papers,
or purchasing a computer or other equipment. Scott Dahm has
been named the 2004–05 awardee. (See related story in this issue.)
The Honolulu chapter of the ARCS Foundation, a women’s
fund-raising organization, was established in 1974. It provides
scholarship awards to outstanding University of Hawaii graduate
students who are U.S. citizens working on degrees in the sciences,
medicine, and engineering. The first ARCS chapter was organized
in Los Angeles in 1958, partly as a response to the launch
of the Russian satellite, Sputnik. Now 13 ARCS chapters across
the country are committed to the advancement of science and
technology worldwide, and to that end, provide support to scholars
at colleges and universities in their communities. Thus far,
ARCS has awarded $1.5 million to more than 500 UH students,
and $45 million to some 10,000 scholars nationally.
Friends of Hawaii Astronomy Web page: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/friends/