Duke Energy awards Riley Institute $100,000 grant

News release by Duke Energy

In the days immediately following the tragic shootings in Charleston, many individuals and organizations asked the question: “What can we do to help?”

More than 4,000 Duke Energy employees and thousands of retirees in South Carolina asked the same of themselves, and their company.

The Diversity Leaders Initiative focuses on the state's top leadership.

The Diversity Leaders Initiative focuses on the state’s top leadership.

In response, Duke’s leaders engaged in deliberate, meaningful conversations with stakeholders across the state to identify where the company could make the biggest difference and most positive impact. These discussions returned to the same theme: the best way Duke Energy can help is to promote diversity and civic participation in South Carolina.

The Riley Institute at Furman is unique in that mission and the perfect partner for Duke Energy in these efforts.

With the help of $100,000 from Duke Energy and a matching grant program for Duke employees, the Riley Institute will build on two of its long-term successful leadership programs — one aimed toward community leaders and one toward youth.

“The outpouring of support from around the state and the nation is awe-inspiring,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy’s president in South Carolina. “In the face of this tragedy, it is important to come together to help our fellow citizens persevere and move forward. I believe these programs will be an important step forward in doing just that.”

Diversity Leaders Initiative

The Riley Institute will pilot an expansion of its existing Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), a program that focuses on the state’s top leadership across many sectors.

The expansion pilot will bring together educators and law enforcement personnel who are responsible for building culture at the ground level in their organizations. It will give them the knowledge and insight to help them develop, communicate and implement an adaptive and collaborative on-the-ground culture that supports diverse communities.

Education and law enforcement professionals will work together on diversity-focused service projects in their communities.

Emerging Diversity Leaders

The Riley Institute will also pilot the Emerging Diversity Leaders (EDL) program, based on its Emerging Public Leaders program.


Former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley meets with the EPL students when they come to campus each summer.

EDL will be a nine-month diversity-focused service leadership experience for rising high school seniors. The program will be offered free of charge to participants and will begin with an intensive, week-long summer program convening on the Furman campus.

The EDL curriculum will teach participants how to lead in diverse settings, engage in the community, analyze critical issues, lead ethically, communicate and present effectively, and plan for the implementation of a diversity-focused community service project.

With input from the Riley Institute DLI team, curriculum will be developed to bring a special focus to an appreciation of the value of South Carolina’s diverse population.

Riley Institute staff will provide project support to students throughout the year, and alumni of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative in their area will connect to offer additional support to students.

Participants for both programs will come from across the state.

“There is much to learn in the grace and forgiveness shown by the families of the victims and the Mother Emanuel community,” said Don Gordon, executive director of Furman’s Riley Institute. “Their generosity of spirit is a literal ‘saving grace’ that has had the incredible effect of pulling our state together rather than driving us apart. We cannot teach that. But we can continue to grow our long-term, statewide capacity to drive an enduring, systemic understanding and appreciation of the inherent value of our diverse population.”

Duke Energy

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.

Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Riley Institute at Furman

The Riley Institute at Furman works to remove barriers to economic and social progress and empower individuals and communities to seek sustainable solutions to South Carolina’s critical challenges. More information is available at riley.furman.edu.

Follow the Riley Institute on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Helping with the cost of textbooks

goess-springsteen-newsHow have Furman chemistry professors Brian Goess and Greg Springsteen eliminated the need for their students to purchase any textbooks for a series of three organic chemistry courses? It’s easy. They not only lend students books and post lectures online, but they also collaborate with students to create a free textbook through an online wiki site. The work of the two Furman professors were featured in a front-page Greenville News story about how area professors are trying to help their students with the high cost of textbooks.

Building a better Greenville

don-gordonGreenville, Furman’s home, is a remarkable place, an increasingly beautiful “destination” city. Nevertheless, like much of South Carolina, there are two Greenvilles. One is relatively prosperous and well-educated, able to take advantage of the beauty and resources of the city and state; the other relatively poor, out of the social and economic mainstream of the community and South Carolina. In an op-ed for The Greenville News, Don Gordon, director of the Riley Institute at Furman and a Professor of Political Science, writes about how the community can work together to build a more inclusive Greenville.

A journey that includes Furman

angela-walker-book-coverDr. Angela L. Walker Franklin, a 1981 Furman graduate who serves as president and CEO of Des Moines University, has written a book, An Unconventional Journey… An Unlikely Choice. In the book, Franklin provides leadership lessons and shares her journey on the way to becoming president and CEO of Des Moines, a medical and health sciences university in Iowa. Walker graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Furman with a degree in psychology and went on to receive a doctorate in clinical psychology from Emory University. She has also served multiple terms on the Furman Board of Trustees. A native of McCormick, Davis was featured in the Greenwood Index-Journal.

Gone fishing


Amy Poon ’16 brought her new graphite fly rod to Furman Lake for the first time Wednesday. It was her first time fishing at the lake, or anywhere for that matter.

She’s feeling a bit nervous, but she lines herself up and makes sure everything is ready for her to cast the line. She’s ready. She flicks her wrist and the rod bends, and stops. It bends again and stops. The nymph snags on a branch in the water, but she’s able to wriggle the fly loose and try again.

Her first afternoon of fly fishing is challenging, but Poon’s determination quickly pays off. She and her classmates are fishing on the Saluda River the next day when she gets an unexpected surprise: an 8-inch-long brown trout at the end of her line.

“Feeling that unexpected, sharp pull on the fly line was exhilarating,” said Poon, an Asian studies major.

Poon is one of a dozen students from diverse majors who spent three weeks taking Fly Fishing and River Conservation, a May Experience course taught by Douglas Koppang ’76 and Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Mike Winiski ’89, and assisted by Anna Riethman ’15.

The idea came about after Koppang, an avid fly fisherman, read an article in Furman magazine about May Experience courses. He had recently read about the death of George Harvey at age 93, a renowned fly fishing pioneer who taught the first college accredited fly fishing course at Penn State for four decades.

“If they could teach fly fishing at Penn State, why not at Furman?” thought Koppang, who called then-Alumni Director Tom Triplett to ask about the possibility of offering a new fly fishing May X course. Fly fishing, with its emphasis on “catch and release” ethics fits well into the EES curriculum, which focuses on sustainability of natural resources, Koppang said.

The first Fly Fishing and Rivers May X course in 2014 was sponsored by Professor Emeritus Frank Powell and Koppang, one of Powell’s former students. Offered once again this year, the course has remained a successful collaboration between Furman faculty, staff, and alumni.FlyFishing_MayX_012

Two-thirds of the class is taught outdoors along riverbanks, on lakefronts and in streams, where students learn how to “read” the water to locate fish and can practice their fly casting and tying skills.

In addition to the history of fly fishing, watershed geology, stream structure, and river conservation are discussed. Students learn about trout biology and behavior, aquatic insects and other species. They also consider their roles in nature and how humans interact with their environment.

Trips to fishing spots, including the Saluda, Davidson, and Chattooga rivers, Jones Gap State Park and Pisgah National Forest are all part of the experience for the philosophy, religion, history, business, and Asian studies majors, many of whom are fly fishing for the first time.

Students learn about the gestalt of fly fishing and supplement their outdoor experience with selected fly fishing literature from authors such as Ernest Hemingway, and Norman Maclean, who wrote the classic novel, A River Runs Through It.

Koppang, a life-long fisherman, and an avid fly fisherman for the past 20 years, first picked up an Orvis catalog and taught himself the basics. He now takes vacation time from his job as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Cardiovascular Care Group in Nashville, Tenn., to share with Furman students what he has learned.

“Fly fishing is a great way to engage the natural world in a responsible manner, and to gain an appreciation for the fragile nature of these mountain stream ecosystems,” Koppang said.

Students learned about the stream conservation efforts of Trout Unlimited, an organization dedicated to preserving and restoring healthy stream habitat for trout. “Trout need very clean water to survive,” said Koppang. “In order to maintain a healthy environment for humans we must preserve the natural habitat of trout that live in these clean mountain streams.”

Koppang said he wants to demonstrate to students that fly fishing is not as complicated, or difficult as some people think. By teaching them the basics in order to enjoy fly fishing, he hopes to encourage a younger generation to become engaged in a sport that involves a lifetime of learning, and to continue to serve as good stewards of the environment.

Matt Consolo ’18, had considered taking a computer science course, but after his friend, J.P. Burleigh ’18, told him about the chance to learn fly fishing at Furman, Consolo said he changed his mind.

At first, he felt a bit intimidated since it was an all-day course and he had limited experience with fishing. Soon, with the readings and outdoor instruction, he felt at ease.

“It’s not about catching fish. It’s about loving the sport,” Consolo said. “You can’t beat being outside all day.”

After taking the course last year as a rising senior, Riethman enjoyed it so much she stayed at Furman after graduation to help with the course as a Teaching Assistant.

“Initially, I wasn’t hooked on it,” said Riethman, who describes fly fishing as her lifelong hobby. “Now, I really enjoy being out on the river. It’s such a peaceful experience.”

One of the highlights of the class for Poon was their trip to Pisgah National Forest, where she caught her first rainbow trout.

“It was gorgeous. It’s one thing to see a rainbow trout in pictures, but to see it in person and in the water is incredible,” said Poon. “I now know why fly fishermen (and women) describe this sport as addictive.”

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities to spend three weeks of your life learning how to fish,” she said. “I already know that I’ll be asking for a fly rod for Christmas.”

Poon, a resident of Tampa, Fla., said she looks forward to sharing her love of fly fishing with family and friends. “Taking this class has introduced me to a new sport that has no age limit,” she said.


Learn more about May Experience at Furman.


Riley Institute names afterschool/expanded learning policy fellows

WRP 2014 session, sizedFifteen leaders in the field of afterschool and expanded learning nationwide have been selected as White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows as part of a partnership between the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The C.S. Mott Foundation has extended its funding for the program with a two-year renewal grant totaling $280,000.

Through discussion of actual case studies led by policy change-makers, the Fellowship equips graduates with a real world understanding of the art and science of sound policy-making for afterschool and expanded learning. In the 10-month program, which begins in October, Fellows will study afterschool/expanded learning policy and develop and implement state-level policy projects in partnership with their Statewide Afterschool Networks and the national Afterschool Alliance.

Launched in 2012, the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship is named for William S. White, President and CEO of the C.S. Mott Foundation; Richard W. Riley, former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education under President Clinton; and Dr. Terry Peterson, National Board Chair with the Afterschool Alliance, and senior fellow at the Riley Institute.

The 2015-2016 White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows are:

Thomas Azzarella, Director, Alaska Afterschool Network (Anchorage, Alaska)
David Beard, Director, Education Policy & Advocacy, School’s Out Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
Melissa Beck, Network Lead, The Civic Canopy (Denver, Colo.)
Susan Gamble, Network Lead, West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network (Charleston, W.V.)
Ebony Grace, Director, Expanded Learning Opportunities, New Jersey School Age Care Coalition (NJSACC): The Statewide Afterschool Network (Westfield, N.J.)
Darren Grimshaw, Board Member, Iowa Afterschool Alliance (Burlington, Iowa)
Don Kent, Chairman, Net Literacy (Carmel, Ind.)
Dave Knutson, Vice President-Government Affairs & Special Initiatives, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Lani Lingo, State Director, Education & Specialized Programs, Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Alison Reis-Khanna, Director of Partnerships and Quality Initiatives, Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST) (Austin, Texas)
Tammy Shay, Program Coordinator, Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network (Baltimore, Md.)
Erik Skold, Associate Director, Sprockets: Saint Paul’s Out-of-School Time Network (St. Paul, Minn.)
Bethany Thramer, Policy & Outreach Coordinator, Oregon Afterschool for Kids, (Eugene, Ore.)
Craig Williams, Teacher, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (Cheyenne, Wyo.)
Kathryn Johnson, Executive Director, Alternatives, Inc. (Ft. Monroe, Va.)

Learn more about the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship. Or contact Cathy Stevens at the Riley Institute (864) 294-3265, or cathy.stevens@furman.edu.

The Ripple Effect: How Saving a River Revitalized a Community

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., through Sept. 20. Upcountry History Museum Exhibit.

Engaging music


They’ve played for friends and faculty at Furman. They’ve played for music fans in a private home. They’ve played for middle and high school students. They’ve played for two communities of senior citizens. And that’s all in less than one week.

Nine Furman students are on a mission: to share their love of chamber music with audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds.

As part of a new May Experience course, “Engaging Music,” students traveled across Greenville for live chamber music performances featuring the works of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Claude Debussy.

Their visits brought more than just concerts, said cello professor Christopher Hutton, who also serves as coordinator of string chamber music.

As they performed, students included historical context and demonstrated concepts of music theory in their conversations with audiences. They took elements in each selection to demonstrate the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary, Hutton said.

Their three-week course started with a study of the book and CD series, What Makes It Great? In the series, pianist and composer Rob Kapilow takes a piece of music, pulls it apart, and puts it back together again to show what truly makes a masterpiece.

Using that model, students developed presentations in which they combined live performance with discussions of how the music is richer and better because of decisions made by composers in terms of rhythm, melody, harmony, and structure, and how to hear these elements. The first 11 days of the course were spent on campus, after which they began making daily visits to other venues around Greenville.

“We really hoped to show the audience what to listen for,” said Jessica McDowell ’17, a double major in music and elementary education. “Active listening can really change the experience.”

Stops along students’ Greenville tour included three performances at Beck Academy, two performances at Wade Hampton High School, a house concert on East North Street, a concert at the Woodlands at Furman, a CLP concert event at Furman, and a performance at the Cascades at Verdae. Their audiences included both connoisseurs and music lovers who may not have the same technical vocabularies.Photo of Engaging Music Class outside the Woodlands at Furman

For students, talking and explaining was as much of the performance as playing.

“This course gets you out of your comfort zone for sure. I’ve gotten a lot better at public speaking,” said Paul Haraala ’17 of Morganton, N.C. “I’m not only playing the notes, but I’m able to share my thoughts about the piece with others as I perform.”

James Johnston, a professional violinist with the Greenville Symphony and the orchestra director at Greenville and Wade Hampton High Schools, was excited to host Furman students during his strings classes at Wade Hampton High.

“I hope this will give my students a different perspective on music,” he said. “I hope it will encourage them to engage with music in a new and interesting way.”

“Their voices are really unique. I really enjoyed hearing the Furman students perform,” said Na Nguyen, a strings student at Wade Hampton High and a rising sophomore. “I liked how they got us involved.”

After their performances, students also took time to answer questions about themselves, their music backgrounds, and their college experiences at Furman.

“We hope everyone left with positive feelings about Furman,” said Hutton. “We wanted to make music feel approachable for all of our listeners.”

McDowell described the course as a great opportunity. “I’ve been able to focus on something I’m passionate about and share it with others,” she said.



Learn more about the Furman Music Department and May Experience.



15 for ’15: Austin Charles

Furman University graduate Austin CharlesAustin Charles
History and Asian Studies
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Austin Charles knew he wanted to be on the other side of an ocean someday. The question was, which one? A summer semester in Oxford, England, and an internship with the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, sealed the deal—for the Pacific.

“I really enjoyed my time in Europe, but I realized my true interest in my heart was more in Asia,” Charles says.

A longtime practitioner of wing chun kung fu and yoga, Charles found himself more and more drawn to the culture’s focus on introspection and “mindfully moving through the world” after school trips to China and Japan. Set to enter Georgia State University College of Law in the fall, Charles hopes to “integrate” himself into law practice involving Japan.

Women in Business: Tracy James

tracy-jamesTracy James is a partner in the law firm of Hamilton, Stephens, Steele & Martin in Charlotte, N.C., where she specializes in construction law with an emphasis on representing minority- and women-owned construction and design companies. The 2002 Furman graduate also likes to fish in the Florida Keys, and just bought a 25-foot boat christened Billable Hours. The Charlotte Business Journal featured Jones in its “Women in Business” section.