A lasting legacy

Mamie Jolley Bruce and Tobi Kinsell

Mamie Jolley Bruce and Tobi Kinsell

The Greenville community recently lost a philanthropist and community leader, Mamie Jolley Bruce, whose lasting legacy has and will continue to make a difference in Greenville. Her generous gift created Furman’s Bridges to a Brighter Future, a nationally recognized program that strives to end the cycle of poverty for Greenville County high school students whose potential outdistances their circumstances. Since its inception in 1997, Bridges students have graduated from colleges all over the country, including Furman, Harvard, Duke and most of the schools in South Carolina. Tobi Kinsell, director of the Bridges program at Furman, wrote an op-ed for the Greenville Journal about the amazing legacy Bruce left behind.

Furman Standard honors ten

Top left and continuing clockwise, George (left) and Fran Ligler (right) honored Carl Kohrt, who is photographed with his wife Lynne, and Charles Brewer. Brewer was also honored by Genie Gullick.  Bill Lavery, photographed with his wife AvaMarie, was honored by Lynn Hatcher-Totaro (right).  David Shaner, (left) photographed with his wife Ileana, was honored by Eric and Christina Harrell. Ty Tessitore,(right) was honored by Matthew and Sandra Miller.

Top left and continuing clockwise, George (left) and Fran Ligler (right) honored Carl Kohrt, who is photographed with his wife Lynne, and Charles Brewer. Brewer was also honored by Genie Gullick. Bill Lavery, photographed with his wife AvaMarie, was honored by Lynn Hatcher-Totaro (right). David Shaner, (left) photographed with his wife Ileana, was honored by Eric and Christina Harrell. Ty Tessitore,(right) was honored by Matthew and Sandra Miller. 


Every year, alumni, parents and friends honor Furman Faculty through lasting gifts to The Furman Standard, an endowed fund that allocates annual grants to faculty materials, training and development. Furman Standard began three years ago and, to date, more than 30 professors have been honored raising approximately $2 million to support faculty development.

On October 3, donors and those they honored gathered for an annual dinner and celebration.

The new Furman Standard honorees for 2014-15 include: Charles Brewer, Trudy Fuller, Don Gordon, Carl Kohrt ’65, Bill Lavery, David Shaner and Ty Tessitore. Other honorees included Sandy Molnar, David Morgan and Linda Julian, who have died.

Charles Brewer
Honored by Genie Gullick ’69, George ’71 and Fran Smith Ligler ’72 Dr. Brewer retired in June, leaving a remarkable impact on the psychology department at Furman. Dedicating almost 50 years of teaching, Brewer has created unique and lasting relationships with a variety of Furman students throughout the years and many students have deemed his career “legendary.” Brewer was named the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Psychology in 1998. In addition, he was the editor of the journal Teaching of Psychology for 12 years and has co-edited five books. Advisee and Furman graduate Genie Gullick ’69 says, “As a generous, honest, and wise advisor, he has been a defining influence in my professional career and personal life for almost 50 years. Charles Brewer is a lifelong friend and a great treasure.”

Trudy Fuller
Honored by Joe Waters ’05
Fuller, a recent retiree from Furman University this spring, dedicated 30 years of teaching to the music department. Dr. Fuller received the Alester G. Furman, Jr., and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching in 2003, and committed all of her time and effort to her students inside the classroom and out. Waters, a former student of Fuller’s, states, “She not only taught us, but also modeled for us, what a curious and educated life looks like.”

Don Gordon
Honored by Kimberly Chappell ’88
Gordon has been part of the department of political science since 1969. Since 1999, Dr. Gordon served as the executive director of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Policy and Public Leadership. Chappell nominated Gordon for this honor and has many praises to sing regarding his career. “Dr. Don Gordon is a quietly compelling presence at Furman and has influenced many Furman students’ scholastic experiences and life paths. He broadened my perspective and played a key role in a number of first experiences for me.”

Linda Julian
Honored by Kenneth and Lisa Lee Rust ’87
Dr. Julian, who died in 2003, made an incredible impact on Furman University through the business department. Lisa Lee Rust, ’87, proudly honors Julian through the Furman Standard: “Though Dr. Julian is no longer with us, the Furman Standard allows me, in a small way, to express my gratitude for her valuable influence in my life.” Dr. Julian stressed the importance of academics, demanded excellence from her students while still igniting a passionate curiosity.

Carl Kohrt
Honored by George ’71 and Fran Smith Ligler ’72
The Furman University Board of Trustees elected Kohrt to be Interim President effective from July 1, 2013 until Elizabeth Davis began her tenure in July. Kohrt graduated magna cum laude from Furman in 1965 with a B.S degree in Chemistry. Dr. Kohrt has been a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the James Frank Institute, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (honorary), and a Sloan Fellow. He also has been a longstanding member of Furman’s Board of Trustees, serving as its chair from 2006 to 2008.

Bill Lavery
Honored by Lynn Hatcher-Totaro ’75
Dr. Lavery is a member of the history department. In her nomination, Hatcher-Totaro writes, “He encouraged us to challenge assumptions and each other, think for ourselves and enjoy the experience of learning.” Lavery catalyzed his students to stretch their minds and apply their education to everyday life.

Sandy Molnar
Honored by Steve Maas ’72
Dr. Molnar was a member of the health science department and died in 1987. Molnar inspired many to lead healthy lives while also providing an education that was applicable well beyond Furman’s gates. Maas says, “Few individuals get to make a significant difference in the lives of even one person, but Sandy was blessed to be able to change the lives of many.”

David Morgan
Honored by Matthew ’99 and Sandra Miller
Morgan taught French and humanities for 20 years at Furman, and died following a battle with liver disease in 2013.  Matthew Miller says, “His intelligence was only paralleled by his humility. Even though he was always the smartest person in the room, he had the unique ability to make everyone else feel like they were the one teaching him something new.” Morgan was named the winner of Furman’s Alester G. Furman Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching in 1998.

David Shaner
Honored by Eric ’82 and Christina Tolerton Harrell ’98
Dr. Shaner retired as the Herring Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at Furman University at the close of 2013. Since joining the Philosophy faculty in 1982, Dr. Shaner was teacher, a prolific writer and editor, leader and role model for faculty and students alike. Shaner was philosophy department chair for 15 years and was one of the founding members of Furman’s Asian Studies department. Shaner brought the Place of Peace from Japan to Furman, which involved meticulous fundraising and five years of hard work.

Ty Tessitore
Honored by Matthew ’99 and Sandra Miller
Dr. Tessitore is a political science professor and the co-director of the Tocqueville Program at Furman University. He is the author of Reading Aristotle’s Ethics and editor of Aristotle and Modern Politics. Dr. Tessitore is a recipient of Furman University’s award for teaching excellence. Matthew Miller ’99 says, “He was the first professor at Furman to have a significant impact on my life. He approaches his teaching in such a thoughtful and delicate manner that it underscores the responsibility he feels for not just teaching, but cultivating deep, critical thinking and articulate, organized communication.”

For more information about past honorees and how to get involved, visit the Furman Standard webpage.

The struggle over desegregation at Furman

2014 Fall High Noon Schedule

Dr. Steve O'Neill

Dr. Steve O’Neill

On Jan. 29, 1965, Joseph Vaughn became Furman University’s first African-American undergraduate student.  That date marked the turning point in a debate that divided the campus for more than a decade and changed the university’s culture forever.

Furman history professor Steve O’Neill will look back at Furman’s efforts to desegregate its student body and the challenges the university faced when he speaks at the university’s High Noon fall lecture series Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman.

His lecture—“Who Speaks for Furman: The Struggle over Desegregation, 1955-1965”—begins at noon.

Furman is commemorating the 50th anniversary of desegregation at the university throughout the school year.  Dr. O’Neill will talk about how tensions over race at Furman mirrored divisions in South Carolina and the nation, but also how the battle over desegregation raised questions about power and free speech within the university.

O’Neill’s talk is the seventh of eight consecutive lectures presented by Furman professors during the fall.  All lectures are free and begin at noon on Wednesdays.

The Upcountry History Museum/Furman is located at 540 Buncombe Street in downtown Greenville’s Heritage Green area.

For more information, contact Furman’s Marketing and Public Relations office at 864-294-2185 or e-mail Marie Newman-Rogers at marie.newman-rogers@furman.edu.

Furman Theatre to present “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball”

Photo by Brian Kuhlmann

Photo by Brian Kuhlmann

The Furman University Theatre will present Rebecca Gilman’s “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” Nov. 12-15 and 19-22 at 8 p.m., with a matinee performance Sunday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. in the Theatre Playhouse on campus.

Intended for mature audiences, the play is open to the public. Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students.

In a culture that always asks, ‘what have you done for me lately?’ “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” examines the vulnerabilities of rising-star painter Dana Fielding. After early success, Dana has a disastrous showing where her work is received with sharp criticism and her personal relationships implode. Dana soon finds herself in a mental institution after an attempted suicide. There she befriends two fellow residents: a sociopathic stalker and a recovering alcoholic. Informed that her health insurance will only pay for 10 days’ residency, Dana concocts a plan to fool authorities into allowing her to stay longer—she takes on the personality of Darryl Strawberry, a retired baseball player who has a history of both success and failure, and had the ‘sweetest swing in baseball.’

Furman adjunct Theatre Professor Jason Adkins directs the play. Designing set and lights is alan bryson, and Kevin Frazier designs sound. Will Lowry is costume designer.

Student cast members for “Sweetest Swing” include:

Caitlin Cain, Dana

Savannah Klosowski, Erica/Dr.Stanton

Courtney Dorn, Rhonda/Dr. Gilbert

Sam Feigenbaum, Michael/Ryan

Sal Donzella, Gary/Roy

For ticket information and reservations, call the Theatre Box Office at (864) 294-2125.

Sunday: Guest artist recital

8-9:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2, Daniel Recital Hall. Music dept. presents Col Legno Bassoon and Percussion Duo in free recital.

Tonight: Freaky Fiesta

7:30-11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, North Village Pavilion. Chinese Student Association presents Halloween fun.

Tonight: Halloween celebration

7 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday, Oct. 31, Amphitheater. ASIA Club presents event with food, bonfire, horror films & fun. Wear a costume!

A circuitous journey into politics

madeline-rogero-smallMadeline Rogero took a circuitous path to her current position as mayor of Knoxville, Tenn. After graduating from Furman with a degree in political science in 1979, Rogero worked with César Chávez’s United Farm Workers, a labor union advocating for better wages and conditions for migrant farm workers. She then moved to Knoxville in 1980, where she earned a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee in urban planning and started working with community-based organizations. Rogero talked about her journey into politics when she spoke recently to students in the “Women, Politics and the Law” class at UT.  Read more in The Daily Beacon.

The Washington Experience

Students learn about politics, careers, and themselves as part of Furman's D.C. internship program


Stewart Atkins and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader

For Carson Priest ’15, his summer as an intern in Washington, D.C., was anything but boring as he learned everything from how to navigate the Metro to how to properly interact with United States senators.

Priest was one of 21 Furman students who spent their summers in the nation’s capital as part of the university’s Washington Experience program, directed by Professor David Fleming.

While living in the metropolitan D.C. area, students were able to take an in-depth look at the political, civic, and cultural aspects of the American political system. The centerpiece of the program was a 30- to 35-hour per week internship arranged for students by The Washington Center and matched to their interests. Internships included opportunities on Capitol Hill, in government agencies, interest groups, law offices, and other institutions. Students also participated in weekly seminars, conducted political science fieldwork, and explored the city on evenings and weekends.

“The Washington Experience program provides a great opportunity for students to see politics and government in action. They are able to apply what they have learned in their Furman classes to current political issues. Further, students make great connections that they can use to find employment after graduation or when applying to graduate schools,” said Fleming.

Cole Vance of Newport Beach, Calif. ’15 spent the summer as an intern with digital marketing firm, Organic Marketing Analytics.

“I entered with goals of an experience living and working in a big city, working at a great internship site, and discovering what immersion in the political arena looks and feels like,” he said.

While he had much to learn, Vance said his liberal arts education at Furman gave him the skills and knowledge he needed to learn quickly.

Stewart Atkins of Arlington, Va. ’15 worked as an intern for the House Committee on Financial Services for nearly three months, where he connected with constituents, set up hearing rooms, and assisted with research for speeches given by Congressmen on the committee.

“It gave me a greater appreciation, perspective, and awareness of the many ways our government functions,” said Atkins, who plans to attend graduate school in the hopes of working in Washington one day.

After spending last summer working for Canadian Parliament, Lee Bolton ’15 went to D.C. to work for the Canadian American Business Council as their international affairs intern.

Bolton traveled to Ottawa, Canada, to assist with an event with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman. She also helped plan events at the Canadian Embassy and worked on business development and recruitment for the Council. A June event hosted by the Council, “North America Fueling the Future,” focused on energy policy in North America and what should be done to ensure energy security. The event was attended by representatives from the Mexican Embassy, the United States Congress, a member of Canadian Parliament, and Singapore’s ambassador to the United States.

“I learned to be bold, to ask for help, ask for references, and ask for advice!” said Bolton.

Priest, a native of Franklin, Tenn., had the opportunity to work for mCapitol Management, a bi-partisan government relations firm that lobbies for clients on Capitol Hill. He was able to attend rooftop fund-raising events, conduct research for clients, and participate in lobbying meetings during his internship.

For Priest, it was an experience that gave him both confidence and career direction. After graduation, he plans to return to Washington, D.C. to pursue a master’s degree in defense policy. “This summer changed the course of my professional and academic life,” he said. “It allowed me to see that this is what I want to do.”