To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, June 5, 1999

Mixing politics,

THIS afternoon, I'll attend graduation ceremonies at Farrington High School in Kalihi. It's a pleasant annual ritual, sitting under the monkey pod tree in the quadrangle watching the graduates troop proudly to the stage for their diplomas -- men in maroon caps and gowns, women in white.

I'll award a scholarship to a graduating senior who's headed to the University Hawaii at Manoa, joining the ranks of Farrington scholars stretching back more than 50 years.

The Farrington name is intertwined with the histories of Hawaii and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Wallace Rider Farrington was born in Orono, Maine in 1871. After coming to Hawaii, he worked for three years in the mid-1890s as editor of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, precursor of the Honolulu Advertiser. Then he switched to the Evening Bulletin.

In 1912, Farrington helped merge the Bulletin with the Hawaiian Star, creating the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Farrington was best known, however, for the eight years he served as territorial governor of Hawaii starting in 1921. He died in 1933.

Farrington's years in office put him in the history books between governors Charles James McCarthy, 1918-21, and Lawrence McCully Judd, 1929-34. They also got a public high school named after him where the newspaper is called The Governor and the football team is "da Govs."

Although Ben Cayetano, arguably the school's most famous graduate, happens to be governor today, Wallace Rider Farrington was its original "Gov."

His son, Joseph Rider Farrington, and daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Pruett Farrington, were also involved in both newspapers and politics. Joe, Star-Bulletin president and general manager, served in the territorial senate, 1934-42, and was Hawaii's delegate to the U.S. Congress, 1943-54.

After Joe died in office, Elizabeth filled out his term in Washington until 1957. She was also a Star-Bulletin director and later publisher and president.

It was soon after she and Joe went to Washington that they endowed the scholarship we award today in honor of "da Gov."

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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