- For the National Security Advisor under U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, see Robert McFarlane.
Millard Robert "Bob" McFarland (born June 12, 1941), is an attorney and lobbyist in Arlington and Austin, Texas, who served from 1983 to 1991 as a Republican member of the Texas State Senate from District 10, then parts of Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties. From 1977 to 1983, McFarland served in the Texas House of Representatives from the former districts 32-B and 32-D in Tarrant County.
In 1959, McFarland graduated from Arlington High School. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. He then procured his Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law, since known as the Dedman School of Law. McFarland was admitted to the bar in 1966. McFarland was cited for achievement in the publication Texas Business. In 1981, he received the G. J. Sutton Memorial Leadership Award and was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Texas Municipal League. In civic affairs, McFarland is a former director of the Tarrant County Humane Society and the Arlington Civic Chorus. He is Roman Catholic.
In 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1985, McFarland was ranked among the "Ten Best Legislators" from both chambers by Texas Monthly magazine. In 1989, McFarland was one of five senators to serve as the President Pro Tempore, having succeeded his regional colleague, Hugh Q. Parmer in that position.
In 1986, McFarland objected when the Texas Select Committee on Higher Education, a group appointed by Governor Mark Wells White to consider streamlining of the state's colleges and universities, proposed that the University of Texas at Arlington be re-defined as a "comprehensive university," with an emphasis on teaching, instead of research. Many UTA faculty and students believed that the change would have eliminated doctoral programs at the institution. McFarland, a UTA "Distinguished Alumnus", declared the select committee recommendation "an over-my-dead-body situation." Soon political support was manifested throughout Arlington and Tarrant County. The mission of UTA was clarified to include "achieving excellence in all academic areas — teaching, research, and public service." McFarland said the controversy brought hundreds of letters and telephone calls and showed him that "there are people out there willing to get involved and support UTA." Then State Representative Kent Grusendorf, also of Arlington, joined McFarland in rallying to the defense of their common alma mater.
As a two-term departing state representative, McFarland succeeded Senator William C. Meier, a Democrat from Euless in Tarrant County who switched to Republican affiliation and ran unsuccessfully in 1982 against U.S. Representative Jim Mattox for Attorney General of Texas. Mark White vacated the attorney's general office after one term to challenge, successfully, Republican Governor Bill Clements. In 1991, McFarland was succeeded in the Senate by Chris Harris, also of Arlington, who subsequently was shifted into neighboring District 9.
Bob McFarland Park, part of which is heavily wooded, is operated at 410 East Embercrest Drive by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department and named in his honor.