Alvin "Al" Goldfarb was the tenth president of Western Illinois University. Prior to his current position from 1977 to 2002 he was on the faculty of the department of theatre at Illinois State University in Normal, where he was also chairman of the theatre department, dean of fine arts from 1988 to 1998, and provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1998. He earned a Ph.D. in theater history from the City University of New York. In 2006 Goldfarb announced that he was being treated for prostate cancer and that a complete recovery was expected. At the July 2009 meeting of the WIU Board of Trustees, Goldfarb officially announced his intention to retire on June 30, 2011. It was announced that President Goldfarb would be succeeded as president of the university by Western's current Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jack Thomas, who succeeded him on July 1, 2011. A search committee will now search for an Interim Provost, as well as for two other Vice President positions whose present incumbent officeholders will be retiring soon. President Goldfarb's and incoming President Thomas's principal priority, besides having a seamless transition and a quick search for candidates, is to deal with the fact that the University is owed more than $50 million by the government of the State of Illinois, and must find further non-critical areas to hone and look to alternative sources of funding like non-government grants and loans, private donations and gifts, and to alumni.
At Illinois State University Goldfarb was involved in setting up an acting internship program with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and construction of a new center for the performing arts.
- Living Theatre : A History,
- Anthology of Living Theater,
- Theater: the Lively Art
- Rachel Hays, "WIU President Alvin Goldfarb to take office July 1,", Western Courier, March 27, 2002.
- "WIU's president says he's being treated for prostate cancer," Associated Press, Aug. 25, 2006.
- "Western Illinois University picks ISU provost as new president," Associated Press State & Local Wire, March 8, 2002.
- Randy Gleason, "Goldfarb to be Illinois State provost; role as healer seen," Pantagraph (Bloomington, Il.), May 8, 1998.