Attorney and 20-year South Pasadena resident Laura Farber has been confirmed as the 2019-20 Pasadena Tournament of Roses (TOR) President by the TOR Board. This was announced in a Jan. 18 press release. She will lead the 131st Rose Parade and the 106th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2020.
At the same time, Farber announced the theme of the 2020 parade: “The Power of Hope.”
“With hope, anything—in fact everything—is possible,” she said in the release. “Through hope, we can aspire to be our best and, in turn, inspire those around us to reach higher.”
The theme has personal meaning for her, she said in a recent interview. She and her parents came to the U.S. from Latin America with hopes of a better life.
“Hope was what kept us going,” she said.
Farber’s success is well-known. She graduated from UCLA and later the Georgetown University Law Center with Honors. She is a partner at the Pasadena law firm Hahn & Hahn.
Her resume lists dozens of her contributions to legal and nonprofit organizations over her almost 30-year career. These include leadership positions with the American Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.
Farber has been a volunteer member of the TOR since 1993. In 2012, she was elected to the Executive Committee. This placed her in line to serve as TOR president.
As president, she and her husband, retired attorney Tomás Lopez, will visit the bands that have been accepted for the 2020 parade. They will travel throughout the country and to other countries such as Japan, Denmark and Mexico.
“I’m excited about the bands,” she said. “We’ll have the most Latin American bands that we’ve ever had.”
She is the first Latina TOR president, according to officials. Born in Argentina, Farber was brought to this country as a toddler by her parents. Both biochemists, her parents left a university and their entire extended family for better opportunities. They also feared for their own safety under the country’s leaders.
They settled in California. She attended public school at Monterey Highlands Elementary School in Monterey Park and Alhambra High School. Farber’s first language was Spanish.
Her husband was born in the Dominican Republic. “His family’s situation was parallel to mine,” she said. She described how they left their country and settled in New York City when Tomás was seven. She met him at a legal clinic he was running in Washington, D.C., when she was in law school.
Farber is only the third woman president in the organization’s history, according to TOR officials. The first two were Libby Evans Wright (2005-06) and Sally Bixby (2012-13).
Farber, who is in her early 50s, said she might be the youngest-serving TOR president. She said she also might be the first one from South Pasadena.
She and her family moved to South Pasadena in 1999. She is proud to be from the city, she said. “I love everything about South Pasadena,” she said. “I love that we have a 4th of July parade. I love that everybody cares so much about the environment and our trees.”
“I love that parents are involved in the schools,” she added. “I love the diversity of the city and that not everybody owns. We have people that rent, and everyone comes together in our schools.”
She and her husband have two college-age children, Christopher and Jessica Lopez. Both attended elementary school and middle school in the city. She served on the Marengo Site Council and the Middle School Booster Club when they were students. Both are in college on the East Coast.
Farber is well acquainted with her home town’s float committee, the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses (SPTOR).
“I have been coming to their float-decoration area for years,” she said. “I think the world of them.”
Last week she attended an evening event hosted by SPTOR member Alan Vlacich and his wife Lin at their South Pasadena home. The occasion was to thank committee volunteers for their work on the 2019 float.
The parade entry garnered the Mayor Award for the most outstanding float by a participating city.
“They worked so hard on that float,” Farber said. “It was beautiful.” She attended the local event to thank the volunteers personally.
She said the TOR has not yet decided on how to handle the incident that resulted in a lengthy delay in the float lineup at the end of this year’s parade. It significantly impacted several entries, including South Pasadena’s.
Looking forward, Farber said she anticipates seeing another special South Pasadena float Jan. 1, 2020. Designs are being reviewed now and are due Feb 1.
Float volunteers and the South Pasadena community know that their neighbor and TOR President Laura Farber and “The Power of Hope” are with them all year long.