Monday: Kilstofte’s “Peace” featured on “From the Top”

7 p.m., Mon., Dec. 22, ETV Radio. Kilstofte’s composition performed by Cantus Chamber Choir will air on public radio.

President Davis on Leadership, Communication and Academic Organizations

This academic year marked a new era in the 188-year history of Furman University when Dr. Elelizabeth-davis-ubjizabeth Davis became the school’s first female president. In December, the Upstate Business Journal sat down with Davis to discuss various aspects of management and leadership­—from being a female in such a prominent career position, to differences in academic versus industry organizations, and how her studies in accounting have prepared her to lead a university. You can read the in-depth interview with Dr. Davis in Part I and Part II of the Upstate Business Journal.

Ensuring the well-being of all students

scott-hendersonAlthough opinions will continue to differ on same-sex marriage, it seems probable that animosity toward gays and lesbians will decrease as the visibility of their unions increases. But according to an op-ed in The State newspaper by Furman education professor Scott Henderson, there is less cause for optimism over the treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students in South Carolina’s K-12 schools.

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Art by Karina Noel Hean on display Jan. 14-Feb. 13

Hean, a storm a structure IV, sizedDrawings by Karina Noel Hean will be on display Jan. 14-Feb. 13 in Thompson Gallery of the Roe Art Building on the Furman University campus. Thompson Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The exhibition, a storm, a structure, is free and open to the public, and is presented by the Furman University Department of Art.

In an artist’s statement, Hean says, “The drawings revel in the visual pleasure of moments in the landscape and a connection with place, both real and invented. Selecting, recombining, and embellishing specimens from nature’s complexity interests me as a means to present emotional metaphors while also enjoying the beauty of light, pattern, form, and land. These imagined landscapes are untraversable spaces but are drawn from moving through and observing terrain.”

Originally from Mayo, Md., Hean is based in Santa Fe, N.M. and teaches at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the New Mexico School for the Arts. She has served on the faculty of the University of Montana, Fort Lewis College, and New Mexico State University and holds a BA from St. Johns College, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Studio Art Centers International, and an MFA from New Mexico State University.

She has received an American Artist Fellowship at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ireland, and has completed several artist-in-residence opportunities in the US, several at national parks. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums, galleries, art centers, and universities throughout the US and exhibits at Zane Bennett Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, N.M., Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas, and Zia Gallery in Winnetka, Ill.

For more information about Hean’s work, visit, or contact Furman’s Department of Art at (864) 294-2074.

Women’s Leadership Institute launches January 13

Furman University Women’s Leadership Institute is kicking off its inaugural conference on Jan. 13 with Aphrodite Konduros, judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals, as the headliner.

Konduros, a member of the South Carolina and Greenville Bar and a member of the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Profession and the S.C. Senate Judiciary Sentencing Reform Commission, is a natural for the conference, said Victoria Kirby, director of Furman’s Center for Corporate and Professional Development and the Women’s Leadership Institute.

“She believes in what we’re doing, in women’s issues, in promoting and celebrating women,” Kirby said.

Up to 40 senior women leaders from South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina are expected to attend the conference, but the exact number will not be available until later this month, she said. The conference is open nationwide.

Women's Leadership Institute Director Victoria Kirby

Women’s Leadership Institute Director Victoria Kirby

The conference, sponsored by the Center for Corporate and Professional Development, is not Furman’s first foray into women’s leadership, she said. In the past, it has held a Connections program to provide an opportunity for women in business to network and meet. The WLI conference gives women in the top rank of leadership at their corporations or organizations a chance to meet others in the same position.

“I’ve been in corporate America for a long time,” said Kirby, a 2003 Furman alumna who helped build a communications company. “It can be very lonely at the top. The glass ceiling does exist. There aren’t as many top female leaders” as male leaders. The conference will “bring successful, strong women together and provide connections outside their companies.”

“They want to be with each other, encourage each other, network with each other,” she said.

The women attending “have risen to the senior level. We try to give them an environment so they can mentor others” and groom new leaders, she said.

Women can be nominated to attend the conference or can self-nominate. Well over 100 nominations were received for the 2015 conference, she said.

When calling for nominations, Kirby said, “We live in an increasingly global society and are faced with economic, political, and cultural challenges. Now, more than ever, we need inspired leaders—women who can be transformative in business, politics, and communities. The Institute is looking for women who have demonstrated successful leadership, community involvement, and have a desire to help others.”

Once nominated, prospective attendees fill out an application and send in their resume.

“It’s a very competitive process,” Kirby said. She and the Institute’s board of directors then evaluate the applications. Criteria include being a senior leader in their organization, demonstrating leadership, being active in community service, and being willing to assist other women.

“It’s very important to be well-rounded,” she said, and all aspects of an applicant are considered.

The January 13 conference begins with an evening orientation and kickoff that includes a cocktail reception and a dinner. In addition to the speaker, the women will participate in team-building exercises at the Younts Center on Furman’s campus. The remaining sessions will be lunch meetings on Feb. 10, March 3, March 17, and April 7. Graduation will be an evening session on April 28 with Dr. Elizabeth Davis, Furman’s President, as the keynote speaker.

The sessions will each include a speaker for about an hour followed by a corporate education forum that will bring in Furman faculty and other experts from throughout the country, Kirby said. Each forum will focus on a specific topic, which the participants have expressed interest. All will be geared toward leadership and all will be interactive.

“Since we’re an academic institution, this is truly professional development” and the participants will earn continuing education credits.

“It takes a lot of time to leave your job and attend a conference,” she said. The continuing education credits are a concrete result of that commitment.

Planning for the 2016 conference will begin immediately after the January kickoff of the 2015 conference, Kirby said. “We will be doing this a year at a time” and change could occur in the way the conference is set up. Anyone interested in attending the 2016 conference can apply online, email Kirby at or call the office at 864-294-2154.

Furman became interested in a conference for senior women leaders because “there are so few of these conferences in this area. Other universities have leadership conferences. We wanted to be different” and decided to focus on women.

Although students are not currently part of the program, Kirby said, “I would like for students to aspire to be these women.” She would like female students, especially seniors and graduate students, to become aware of the Women’s Leadership Institute and perhaps find mentors from among the participants.

Kirby, who facilitated last year’s Connections program, has worked with Furman since 2006 and was named director of the Center for Corporate and Professional Development in May 2014. She has plans for the Center to grow.

“If you don’t have a vision as a leader, the organization perishes,” she said. “We’re corporate educators. We have resources like our faculty” that many corporate trainers can’t access.

The Center’s goal is to help corporations and organizations develop their teams by assessing the business and creating strategic development opportunities.

“It’s a new adventure every day,” she said.


Student-organized Shamrock Run rallies support for abuse prevention

Nearly 100 members of the Zeta Pi Chapter of Furman’s Kappa Delta sorority recently came together to raise more than $16,000 for Greenville’s Julie Valentine Center and Prevent Child Abuse America.

While the sorority has sponsored an annual 5K Shamrock run for the past nine years, members wanted to make the 10th anniversary event even bigger, said Katie Keith ’16, vice president of community service for Kappa Delta. Planning for this year’s fund-raiser spaghetti dinner, silent auction, and 5K run began last spring with “all hands on deck,” she said.

Approximately 200 Furman students, faculty, staff, and community members participated in the recent Shamrock Run in November around Furman Lake. Among them was Communication Studies Professor John Armstrong, an avid runner who ran in this fall’s Mohawk-Hudson Marathon in Albany, N.Y. and has participated in several Shamrock Runs over the years.

“Many of my communication studies students are in Kappa Delta and I wanted to support their charitable efforts,” said Armstrong, who won the 25-plus age category and received a repurposed vinyl record as a prize medal.Pics from Shamrock Events _Page_06

Among the race participants were multiple clients from Furman’s FitRx program, a new individualized exercise training available to university faculty, staff, and members of their families.

“We had a few clients actually train for this event,” said Keith, a double major in health sciences and art who also works as an intern in the FitRx program. “We’re so proud of their effort and commitment.”

Harrison Rose ’15 and members of local bluegrass band, Bent Strings, provided music in the amphitheatre for the race. Emma Smith ’17 and Emily Martin ’17 served as co-Shamrock chairs to help coordinate the event.

As part of a separate event, Olive Garden restaurant at Cherrydale donated a spaghetti dinner for 200 people, while Kappa Delta members provided salad, desserts, and drinks for the fundraiser at the Watkins Room.

Other area businesses supporting the effort included: Local Taco, Pink Bee, Wilson’s on Washington, Flat Rock Grille, Olympian Grill, Pure Barre, Run-In, Treats, and B-Unlimited Graphics.

Another student supporter was Kappa Delta member and political science major Danielle Bereznay ’15, who interned for the Julie Valentine Center (JVC) for three months this fall. She also completed the center’s victim advocacy training.

“The center provides invaluable services for both victims and survivors of sexual assault and rape, from immediate services such as meeting a victim at the emergency room to follow-up services such as counseling for survivors,” Bereznay said. “These services help so many people in our community recover from traumatic situations.”

Keith said she’s proud that Kappa Delta has been able to support local organizations like the Julie Valentine Center again this year. “They’re investing in the futures of this community,” she said. “We’re so proud that we’re able to do a little bit to support their amazing work.”

To support the Julie Valentine Center, visit


Teatro, danza, musica


The night before Kenzie Wynne ’17 boarded the plane for her summer experience in Italy, she began plaguing herself with questions.

“What if it isn’t everything I imagined? What if I hate traveling? What if the movies really do set unrealistic expectations? What then?” she said.

After being catapulted out of her comfort zone into a new culture, Wynne said her summer of acting and creative writing classes in Tuscany was everything she imagined and more. “Traveling is great, and reality is far better than the movies,” she said.

Six Furman theatre arts majors—Caitlin Cain ’15, and sophomores Sal Donzella, Sam Nelson, Ellie Caterisano, Lauren Girouard, and Wynne—spent the summer in Tuscany as part of Accademia dell’ Arte’s four-week study away program.

Accademia dell’Arte, located in the city of Arezzo, Italy, is a vibrant community of performing artists, musicians, scholars, and students. Its study abroad programs for undergraduates in the performing arts and master’s degree program in physical theatre encourage individual expression and experimentation, according to founding director Dr. Scott McGehee.

The summer experience in Italy is one of many opportunities Furman theatre arts students have been able to enjoy as part of a three-year Duke Endowment grant, a new initiative to enhance and expand the University’s programs in music, art, and theatre. While students paid for their own tuition, endowment funds covered transportation costs, including airplane and train tickets.

The department has also been able to fund trips for more than 20 students to theatre conferences and bring nearly a dozen guest artists to campus for acting workshops, the world premiere of a play, and instruction in mask making, stage combat, sound, lighting, and costume design.

Theatre arts professor Maegan Azar spent two weeks participating in professional development at  Accademia dell’ Arte last summer before taking Furman students to Italy for the first time in July.

Students spent their first weekend in Florence, getting acclimated to Italy, before settling into the villa they would share with other young apprentices from across the United States. Sharing chores, including taking out garbage and cleaning the kitchen, was all part of living in the artist community.

Students were each able to take two courses during the four weeks, choosing from classes such as mask making, Commedia dell’ Arte, documentary film, drawing in Tuscany, and art history.italy7

“The Commedia class really opened me up to a different style of theatre,” said Sam Nelson. “It shared a style of acting that has been around for hundreds of years since its original development around the Italian renaissance. It plays a huge role in inspiring the development of many stock characters that we’ve seen throughout history and continue to see today.”

His film class took him on the road to put together a documentary that focused on World War II in the local area and offered a cultural perspective on history. “The class completely changed my ideas about film and inspired me to make more documentaries in the future,” Nelson said.

Wynne said she felt a bit like Amy March during her summer experience in Italy.

“There’s a quote from Little Women where Amy talks about her relationship with her sisters,” said Wynne. “We bare our souls and tell the most appalling secrets.”

After four weeks in a creative writing class with a professor and five other young authors from across the United States, Wynne found herself feeling quite comfortable.  “On the first day we all met as strangers, but by the end of the program, we were family,” she said. “It felt like home.”

Azar said she hopes to make summers in Italy an annual option for Furman students. The program offers a collaborative mentality that encourages students to take risks artistically, she said.

“We want to give students additional opportunities to add another tool to their tool kits,” she said.

For Nelson, his summer in Italy was an important part of his education. “I think that studying abroad is imperative to a liberal arts education and I really think Furman understands that,” he said. “It’s an incredible way to expand your perceptions on culture as well as the arts.”

Furman to host 2016 Mock Trial national championship

mock-trial-smallFurman University has been selected as the host site for the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship tournament that will take place in April 2016.

The event, which features the top college mock trial teams vying for a national championship, will mark the first time Furman will have hosted AMTA’s premier event.

Under the direction of Furman political science professor and AMTA past-president Dr. Glen Halva-Neubauer, Furman’s mock trial program has been a longtime supporter of regional and super regional mock trial tournaments.

Halva-Neubauer attributes the selection of Furman as the venue for the national championship to the university’s excellent performance as host of tournaments leading up to the crowning contest. Last season, Furman drew the highest tournament evaluations for its Ney National among all 33 AMTA tournaments, including the National Championship held in Orlando.

The regular AMTA season officially begins in February when 630 teams nationwide enter regional competitions at 25 sites. The top seven or eight teams from those tournaments advance to one of eight super regional contests, one of which is the Furman-hosted Ney National (now known as the Bell Tower Tournament), which is typically held in March. Forty-eight team finalists representing approximately 500 students move from the super regional tournaments to the AMTA National Championship Finals.

Furman hosted its first regional AMTA tournament in 1998, producing an unprecedented number of judges. The university has hosted a super regional since 2009.

“Our commitment to fielding quality judging panels has been our signature,” says Halva-Neubauer. “We also do things here you rarely see in other places—receptions for students, free lunches, T-shirts, golf cart transportation—but at the end of the day, we have really great facilities and judges.”

Furman’s mock trial program has won a bid to the national championship tournament for 18 consecutive years. Teams are now competing at invitational tournaments to prepare for a bid to the 2015 championship finals. A bid in 2016 would mark Furman’s 20th straight invitation—this time on the university’s home turf.

For more information, visit the Mock Trial homepage or contact Glen Halva-Neubauer at (864) 294-3608 or