Association of Graduates
Larry Fariss Class of 1975

Colonel (Ret) Larry Fariss was born 30 December 1952 in Medford, Oregon. He graduated from USAFA in 1975 where he captained the football team. He served nearly 30 years on active duty as a pilot, staff officer, and squadron/group commander. His final postings were at USAFA in the Department of Athletics as Director of Athletic Programs and then as Commander of the Preparatory School. Upon his retirement in 2004 he moved to Black Forest CO where he has been active in community affairs serving on several boards, the AOG Class Advisory Senate as Class Senator and Executive Committee member, and coaching at local high schools. In his spare time, he is an avid hiker and cyclist who crossed the country twice, cycling coast to coast in 2006 and then backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 2010. He married the former Michelle May in 1976 and they have three sons: Major J.D. Fariss 33 (USAFA 01), Mathew Fariss 31, and Mike Fariss 28.

Candidacy Statement

I am running for a position on the AOG’s Board of Directors because I want to serve past graduates and present cadets. I feel I have a thorough understanding of the mission and vision of both the Academy and the AOG. While on active duty I served USAFA and cadets in many capacities: Recruiter, Coach, Liaison Officer, Mentor, Athletic Director, Preparatory School Commander, and Superintendent’s Executive Staff. Since retirement, I have continued my service to USAFA as a Class Senator and Executive Committee Member in the AOG Class Advisory Senate, AOG Saber Society Member, sponsored 25 cadets, and participated in Character and Leadership’s cadet mentorship programs. In these positions I have worked directly for the Superintendent, Commandant, Athletic Director and indirectly for the Dean and the Character and Leadership Director. In short, I thoroughly understand the pillars upon which USAFA stands and the needs of our graduate community. I want to serve cadets--- past and present.


Why did you decide to run for the AOG Board of Directors?

I am running for a position on the AOG’s Board of Directors because I want to serve past graduates and present cadets. I feel I have a thorough understanding of the mission and vision of both the Academy and the AOG. I want to serve cadets --- past and present.


What skills, knowledge, & experience do you have that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board?

I have extensive experience serving on boards and committees in both military and civilian environments. I have served on the Superintendent’s Senior Staff, AOG Class Advisory Senate Executive Committee, USAF Promotion Boards, Church Committees, Community Club Boards, and presided over Black Forest Trails Association meetings. I can skillfully work in a board setting through expression of opinion and compromise. My extensive background in USAFA positions will bring insight and understanding of academy needs and operations to the board. My service on the Class Advisory Senate brings an awareness and understanding of the needs and expectations of the graduate community that will benefit the board.


What involvement with the AOG or the Academy have you had that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board of Directors?

While on active duty I served USAFA and cadets in many capacities: Recruiter, Coach, Liaison Officer, Mentor, Athletic Director, Preparatory School Commander, and Superintendent’s Executive Staff. Since retirement, I have continued my service to USAFA as a Class Senator and Executive Committee Member in the AOG Class Advisory Senate, AOG Saber Society Member, sponsored 25 cadets, and participated in Character and Leadership’s cadet mentorship programs. In these positions I have worked directly for the Superintendent, Commandant, Athletic Director and indirectly for the Dean and the Director of Character and Leadership. In short, I thoroughly understand the pillars upon which USAFA stands and the needs of our graduate community.


How would you suggest the AOG improve its relevance to the Graduate Community as a whole and to individual Graduates?

I support a strong AOG that provides services and support for the graduate community and individual graduates. I feel the AOG is most relevant to the graduate community when it focuses on reunion opportunities, class communications and local chapter support. Individual graduates benefit through networking opportunities, job fairs and a sense of belonging to the long blue line. I feel our graduates benefit most if the AOG has a close working relationship with the USAFA Endowment, with the AOG focusing on “friend raising” and the Endowment focused on “fund raising”.


Under the recently adopted Carver governance model, the primary role of the Board is to provide the strategic direction for the organization, while leaving operational administration to the CEO. How do you define strategic direction? What experience have you had in strategic thinking and policy making?

I am a strong advocate of the Carver Policy Governance Model. As a Senator, I encouraged the Class Advisory Senate to support the AOG’s move to this model of governance. It enables the AOG Board to focus on the strategic direction of the AOG and it’s organizational purpose. Having read Dr. John Carver’s Boards That Make A Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations, I know The AOG’s strategic direction is to ‘focus on the larger issues, to delegate with clarity, to control management's job without meddling, to rigorously evaluate the accomplishment of the organization; to truly lead its organization”. This enables the Board to hold our CEO fully accountable for the day to day operations and organizational issues he or she completely controls. I have worked as a strategist and policy maker throughout the last twenty years of my military and civilian life. Most positions I hold require these skills and I have long embraced a centralized organization—decentralized execution concept that fits hand and glove with the Carver Governance Model.


How much of your time can you devote to meetings, preparation for Board of Directors meetings, emails/correspondence, committee work, and interacting with members?

I am fortunate to be fully retired and have the time, motivation and interest to perform all duties and functions required of a board member. I will take the time to support the entire scope of work: meetings, correspondence, committees, and interaction with members.


Go back to the Election main page.