Dr. Kenneth McFarland

Dr. Kenneth McFarland

Dean of American Public Speakers

The McFarland Project

Dr. Kenneth McFarland traveled the United States speaking on Free Enterprise, Salesmanship, Conservative principles and Christian values. His message was one of responsibility, moral strength, opportunity and optimism. Known as the "Dean of American Speakers", he changed lives and inspired a generation to succeed and prosper.

Dr. Charles Jarvis, creator of the McFarland Project, passed away on December 22, 2012. His goal was to share Dr. McFarland's speeches and writings with as many people as possible. He knew that Dr. McFarland's moving speeches would act as a tonic to revive the spirit and strengthen the beliefs of people who love the country. The same could be said for Dr. Jarvis's talks. Between the two of them, they brought humor and hope to many of their "Greatest" generation audiences.

Dr. McFarland spoke tirelessly to promote his beliefs. If you are moved by his speeches and believe in his mission, please share this website with all who might listen. Tell everyone, as one of his speech titles commands, to "Wake the Town and Tell The People". Make the McFarland Project your own and help bring his words back to life so they can do their work.

Dr. Jarvis on Dr. McFarland's Speeches
Dr. Kenneth McFarland Biography
Honors and Awards
Dr. Kenneth McFarland Speeches (Audio)

Dr. Jarvis on Dr. McFarland's Speeches

Dr. Kenneth McFarland Dr. McFarland's speeches were classics. In a letter to people interested in hearing Dr. McFarland's talks, Dr. Charles Jarvis writes:

Dr. Kenneth McFarland was the best speaker in the United States. This fact is acknowleged by all the professional speakers appearing today...that is, if they ever heard him. He was known as the "Dean of American Public Speaking". His honors and awards fill a seperate page.

He started speaking back in the thirties when he was trying to help the teachers in their plight during the Great Depression. As his reputation mushroomed, he spoke for conventions and corporations. He was the principle speaker for the General Motors Speakers Bureau and had many assignments as their representative. He was in demand as a conservative, patriotic, motivational speaker - the best in the United States or anywhere else. His speeches were and still are wonderful.

Dr. Mc and I were very good friends. I called him at his home and apologized for interrupting his privacy. He told me that I could call him any time, "even out of church." We had a great relationship. We were on several programs together and we welcomed such occasions so we could visit and enjoy each other. He was a fountain of speaking experience.

I have taken the liberty of including a letter Dr. Mc sent me the day following his hearing me for the first time. We were on that program together. The next day he wrote that letter and from that time on we had a lively corresponcence. I cherished his friendship and the times we had together. We appeared on programs together four times. At those engagements, we visited and enjoyed each other, talked about speaking, speakers, history, politics, America (wonderful country that it is), the Basics of Success, religion, etc. I have over forty letters from Dr. Mc, as I called him.

He was a fine man, a wonderful Christian and an extremely patriotic American. This is evident in all his speeches. His "America's Opportunity -- Bicentennial" is the best talk I've ever heard. I have listened to each of his speeches many times and they all thrill me still. How I wish in '76 our government and its people would have incorporated basics he espoused in this great speech. I am sure it will thrill you as it did me the first time I heard the tape. Since that first hearing, I have listened to all 26 of his speeches many times each. I never tire of them. Be sure you hear this great patriotic talk about the purposes of a convention:.."to get the picture" and "...saving the frame", "the United States of America."

He lay down for a nap after lunch March 6, 1985 and never awakened. I personally believe that the Lord he worshiped and witnessed to, allowed him this placid entrance to what he and I called, "The Great Podium in the Sky."

To this day people call my office wanting to know if I have any of his speeches available. I now have all of Dr. Mc's speeches on CDs. I have a contract with Chief Justice Kay McFarland, State of Kansas, his daughter, to reproduce and distribute his speeches, which are available through this website.


Dr. Charles W. Jarvis

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Dr. Kenneth McFarland Biography

Dr. Kenneth McFarland Dr. Kenneth McFarland is the recipient of Freedoms Foundation's prestigious National Leadership Award. This significant honor is another recognition of the fact that for years he has been acknowleged to be the nation's most eloquent and effective exponent of what is commonly known as the "American System." In presenting the plaque to Dr. McFarland at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Freedoms Foundation President Kenneth Wells said,

"I shall identify our Freedom Leadership Award winner with a simple, unqualified statement - he is the greatest public speaker in the United States."

Dr. McFarland is also the recipient of the Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement in its Salute to Excellence meeting at Dallas. It is the only award for public speaking ever made by the Academy, and salutes Dr. McFarland as the "Nation's Number One Public Speaker." He is an honorary member of the World's Number One Rotary Club in Chicago. Dr. McFarland was awarded the Freedom Foundation's Free Enterprise Exemplar Medal in 1975.

Kenneth McFarland's speeches reflect the breadth and depth of his broad experience and thorough education. For more than a quarter of a century he has covered America until he has developed a deep appreciation of what it means to be an all-around American citizen. He has come to know and admire the peculiar strengths of each section of this great land and he is at home in all of them. A nation-wide survey showed Dr. McFarland is America's foremost public speaker, and he was rated first in each general section of the country as well as massing the highest total score.

Dr. McFarlands formal education was also nationwide in scope. His Bachelor's Degree is from Pittsburg State College in Kansas: his Master's degree was taken at Columbia University in New York; and his earned Doctorate is from Stanford University, California.

For twenty-four years Kenneth McFarland enjoyed an outstanding career as a school executive, serving the last nine years of this as city superintendent of schools in Topeka, the captial of his native Kansas. The modern McFarland Trade School, which he designed and built at Coffeyville, Kansas, is named in his honor.

Dr. McFarland is Guest Lecturer for General Motors Corporation. He was formerly Guest Lecturer for the Reader's Digest.

The demand for Dr. McFarland as a guest speaker caused him to be designated as America's Number One Air Passenger. He was presented with a special award by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker for flying more than any other American on this country's domestic airlines.

Ken McFarland has a special appreciation of the importance of salesmanship in a competitive economy. He declares that advertising and salesmanship are the gas and oil that fuel the free enterprise vehicle. His own phenomenal success in "selling American to Americans' caused the Sales and Marketing Executives International to desginate him for its annual award of Outstanding Salesman of American. In 1975 Dr. McFarland was given the International Speakers Hall of Fame Award for his contribution to the sales and marketing profession.

Dr. McFarland is widely heralded as an authority on the vital subject of law enforcement. His writings, studies, achievements, and speeches in this desperately important field have won the acclaim of lawmen and laymen alike. He is an honorary member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He is the author of the Topeka Plan for Law Enforcement, a system now adopted in his home city. A plaque on his wall features the only Honorary Police Badge ever presented by his home city Police Department. Because of Dr. McFarlands nation-wide campaign for law enforcement, as well as well as the specific program he initiated in his home city, Optimist International conferred upon him its highest honor, the International President's Award.

Dr. McFarland lives with his family on a beautiful horse farm at Topeka, Kansas. His talented and versatile daughter is Judge Kay McFarland, the ranking woman jurist of Kansas. In 1973 she became the only woman in the history of Kansas to be elected District Judge. She is also widely known in the horse world as a former world champion show ring rider. Dr. McFarland is also in the cattle business and is a favorite speaker with farm groups and stockmen's organizations. In fact, his incredibly wide range of interests makes it easy for him to talk the language of most any group. In addition to being an educator, business man, salesman, and stockman, he is an industrial advisor, civic leader, author, religious leader, and recognized authority on governmental and economic affairs. He is the nation's most experienced Chamber of Commerce speaker.

Ken McFarland is a strong believer in management meetings at all levels. Now that technology and know-how have become so broadly disseminated, he declares the best way to beat both domestic and foreign competition is to "out-manage" it.

Dr. McFarland and his family have long been intensely interested in ecology and wilf life preservation. Their photographic safaris in Africa have made them active in the East African Wild Life Society. They also participate in similar American organizations.

Dr. McFarland is the author of ELOQUENCE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, now in its thirteenth printing, and a best-seller in its field. He is also making a tremendous contribution to a better understanding of total Americanism through a total of twenty-six recorded addresses. These masterful speeches were recorded live as he actually delivered them, and the recordings include the audience re-actions as well as the spoken messages. The recordings in this well-balanced series are generally hailed as the "cadillacs of recorded speeches." They are not only used by almost every kind of group, but are also finding their way into thousands of private homes.

When Kenneth McFarland undertakes to mould a significant subject into one of his dynamic address, he asks not only, "What is new on the subject?" but also, "What is old?" "What has the wisdom of the ages established about this matter?" This leads him frequently to use biblical illustrations because he literally believes that "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."

One biographer refers to Dr. McFarland as "the home run king of the speaking world," and adds that "The McFarland speeches are a pleasing blend of solid experience, sound scholarship, practical idealism, and sparkling good humor - all delivered with complete sincerity and tremendous vitality."

Dr. McFarland collaborates with Mr. Frank Emerson Harris in producing a series of booklets on the preservation of basic Americanism. These publications are read by millions of Americans and hailed for their clear portrayal of moderate conservatism. Mr. Harris is President of Homemakers Guild of America Corporation, Mile High Center, Denver.

An editorial in the Paducah Sun Democrat says,

"Instead of dying for his country, Dr. McFarland is literally living for it by devoting his life to the preservation of its basic virtues and ideals....He is truly a voice for America."

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Dr. Kenneth McFarland

Honors and Awards

Freedom Foundation's National Leadership Award

American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award
This is the only award for public speaking ever made by the Academy, and it salutes Dr. McFarland as the "Nation's Number One Public Speaker."

Honorary Member: America's Number One Rotary Club, Chicago

Freedom Foundation's Free Enterprise Exemplar Medal

Bachelor Degree, Pittsburgh State College in Kansas
Master's Degree, Columbia University, New York
Doctorate, Stanford University, California

America's Number One Air Passenger
Presented by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, for flying more than any other American on America's Domestic Airlines

Sales and Marketing Executives International's Outstanding Salesman of America

International Speakers Hall of Fame Award

Honorary Member, Fraternal Order of Police

Optimist International's Highest Honor: The International President's Award

Toastmaster International's Golden Gavel Award for Excellence in Communications and Leadership

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Dr. Kenneth McFarland

McFarland Dies at 78 - March 6, 1985

Kenneth W. McFarland, for 30 years Topeka's leading public speaker, was pronounced dead on arrival late Wednesday afternoon in the emergency room of a local hospital.

A spokesman for Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center said McFarland, 78, was taken by ambulance to the hospital after he collapsed at his home, 4401 W. 10th, after suffering an apparent heart attack. No autopsy will be performed.

Dr. McFarland, who had been employed since the 1950s as a lecturer and educational consultant for the General Motors Corp., received numerous awards from politically conservative civic, patriotic and business-oriented organizations for his support of the Free Enterprise system. For 15 years of his career as a public speaker, he also lectured on behalf of the Reader's Digest.

In a 1983 interview with The Capital-Journal, McFarland described his reason for speaking out in favor of conservative ideals: "People in favor of socialist trends never quit, and the rest of us can't either."

At that time, McFarland reaffirmed his belief in conservatism as the dominant political philosophy: "I agree with some others that we should have a realignment of the parties, so instead of having Republicans and Democrats we would have Conservatives and Liberals -- and the Conservative Party would be the larger."

McFarland expressed his opinions most frequently as an after-dinner speaker, and in 1982 was named to Quote magazine's list of 10 Most Quotable Public Speakers, alongside Bob Hope, Paul Harvey, and Lee Iococca. He also was the author of several books and pamphlets on politics, law enforcement and public speaking. Many of his speeches were recorded on cassette tapes.

McFarland, who was an outspoken critic of campus unrest and anti-war protests during the 1960s and early 1970s, also was an advocate of law and order. He was the author of the Topeka Plan for Law Enforcement, which was implemented by the Topeka Police Department.

McFarland was a superintendent of schools for 24 years. He was employed as superintendent by the Topeka school system for nine years during the 1940s and early 1950s. Before that, he served as superintendent of schools in Coffeyville and in Anthony. While in Coffeyville, McFarland designed and built the McFarland Trade School there. Early in his career he served as a school principal at Cherryvale.

A native of Caney, Kansas, McFarland received a bachelor's degree from Pittsburg State University in 1927. He earned a Master's Degree from Columbia University in 1931 and a doctorate from Stanford University in 1940.

McFarland received many honors and awards. They included Pittsburg State University's Meritorious Achievement Award (1979), American Freedom Foundation's Freedom Leadership Medal (1968), the Free Enterprise Exemplar Medal (1975), Optimist International's Presidential Award for Law Enforcement (1968), American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award (1968), American Philanthropic Board of Trustees' Outstanding American Award (1974) and Toastmasters International's Golden Gavel Award (1980).

McFarland, who lived for many years at his farm home on West 10th Street, raised and exhibited Tennessee walking horses.

He was born October 12, 1906, at Caney, Kansas. He is survived by his wife, Margaret E. Thrall McFarland, whom he married in 1927; a son, James W. McFarland, Kansas City, Kansas, and a daughter, Kay, who is a justice of the Kansas Supreme Court (Now Chief Justice Kay McFarland).

Service arrangements are pending with Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home.

Topeka Capitol-Journal, March 7, 1985.

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Dr. Kenneth McFarland

The Speeches of Dr. Kenneth McFarland

Through the efforts of Dr. Jarvis to collect these speeches with permission of Chief Justice Kay McFarland, his talks can be found here.

Enjoy these talks and share this source with friends who will appreciate their value.

Dr. McFarland's Promotional Brochures

Dr. Kenneth McFarland - Dean of American Public Speakers

The Eagle Has Landed

"America's Opportunity (Bicentennial - 1976-1989)"


"Are We Raising the Red Flag Over Ourselves?"

"Guarding America Tonight"

"Horse Sense"

"How is America Doing?"

"Ladder To Success"

"Leadership that Leads"

"Let's Sell Success"

"Liberty Under Law"

"Public Speaking - Part One"

"Public Speaking - Part Two"

"Ropes of Gold"

"Salesman Power"

"Selling America to Americans"

"Speak Up For America!"

"Sure-Fire Selling"

"The Best of McFarland's Humor, Vol I"

"The Best of McFarland's Humor, Vol II"

"The Best of McFarland on Insurance"

"The Best of McFarland for Salesmen"

"The Lamplighters"


"Wake The Town and Tell the People"

"Who Bites the Bountiful Hand"

"Who Will Succeed...?"

"You Better Believe It"

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