Business School Honors Alumni Couple for Entrepreneurial Spirit

OXFORD, Miss. – Jan and Lawrence Farrington embody the entrepreneurial spirit. They not only establish businesses, but they also help others launch their dreams.


Lawrence and Jan Farrington talk to business students recently at the University of Mississippi. The couple was honored by the UM School of Business Administration with a new entrepreneurship award named for them. UM photo by Nathan Latil.

The University of Mississippi School of Business Administration recently honored the Ridgeland couple and Ole Miss alums with the Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. The couple was surprised to receive the award, and stunned to learn that it was named in their honor.

“We asked if they dialed the right number,” Lawrence Farrington said with a chuckle.

“We’re deeply honored,” his wife added. “It was a shock, and we’re humbled by it.”

“The award is named after Jan and Lawrence, because of their entrepreneurial spirit in helping others to start and expand businesses,” explained Ken Cyree, dean of the business school. “It’s also their love for helping young people to start businesses. The Farringtons have made and continue to make great impacts on the state and the University of Mississippi.”

The target for the new award, which is to be presented annually, is someone who embodies the entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of Mississippi, the region and Ole Miss. The award is a fitting accompaniment to the new entrepreneurship minor that starts this fall in the School of Business Administration, Cyree said.

“Mississippi small businesses and new businesses are the ones that are poised to lead us out of the recession and create a dynamic economy for the state,” Cyree said. “It is our desire in the School of Business to partner with knowledgeable entrepreneurs, such as the Farringtons, to help our students achieve success in their careers and businesses.”

Lawrence Farrington agreed, saying entrepreneurs – people who venture into risky, imaginative opportunities – are important to the economic future of the state and country.

“Entrepreneurs are a part of the American business scene and business world, and we need to encourage that,” he said.

The couple also offered their individual advice for future entrepreneurs.

“We certainly have had ventures that failed, but the best lesson is to get up and try again,” Jan Farrington said. “Don’t give up. Keep going and plug away at the next venture.”

“So many entrepreneurs don’t make it,” Lawrence Farrington concluded. “Invest in someone else’s project, then take your earnings and invest in your own imaginative ideas. If it doesn’t work, then learn why.”

Investors in the Mississippi Angel Group and direct investors for many start-up firms, the Farringtons have been instrumental in founding FNC Inc. and Vino Del Sol, both ventures of UM alums. The couple has also been generous with their time and gifts to Ole Miss, including speaking to classes about entrepreneurship, judging the Business Plan Competition and funding scholarship opportunities.

“It’s important for us to give back to the School of Business because Ole Miss gave us so much,” Jan Farrington said. “It would be unconscionable for us not to give something back.”


An independent oil and gas businessman, Lawrence Farrington is a 1958 Ole Miss business school graduate. He has worked as a general partner of Vaughey & Vaughey Oil Co. and in the petroleum department of Deposit Guaranty National Bank. He started his own company, Atwood Alarm Co., which he later sold. He continues to be involved in oil and gas, as well as land and business investments. A former chairman of the UM Business Advisory Council, he serves on the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Jan Farrington, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education from UM in 1965, is executive director of the Medical Support and Development Organization Inc. She also serves on the board of directors for FNC Inc., Mississippi Technology Alliance and Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian. A former national president of the UM Alumni Association, she is president-elect of the UM Foundation board of directors.

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