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William B. Farinon ’39 died Aug. 25 at his home in San Mateo, Calif. He was 88.

Farinon College Center is named in honor of Farinon and his wife, P T, who provided a contribution of $11 million toward the $16 million cost of the center, which opened in 1991.

In the late 1980s Farinon helped Lafayette pioneer in a new arena of electronics. He gave the College more than $3 million to establish a data control systems laboratory and to network the campus with fiber optic cable for the campus computer network. He established a scholarship fund for electrical engineering students in the name of one of his favorite professors.

In a special celebration at the 160th Commencement, Farinon marched with the Class of 1995 and received his Lafayette diploma 56 years after his own class’ graduation ceremonies had taken place without him because he’d failed a course as a senior. (He made up the course at another college that summer to qualify for his Lafayette degree.)

Farinon served as chief of communications engineering for the Civil Aeronautics Administration in Honolulu from 1941-49. He then worked as a radio engineer for the Hawaiian Telephone Company until 1955, when he and P T moved to California and, working side-by-side, became pioneer entrepreneurs in what was to become known as Silicon Valley. Farinon Electric Company flourished and then merged with Harris Corp. in 1980.

P T Farinon House, which opened in 1996 as a residence for first-year students, is named for the late Mrs. Farinon, who died in 2001. The Farinons’ ashes will be scattered over the sea in Hawaii, family members say.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles