Christmas @ Furman to be performed Dec. 5

Furman FSO, Singers, Chorales, Messiah from Jeremy2The Furman Symphony Orchestra, Furman Singers and Chorales featuring five student soloists will present Christmas @ Furman Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on the Furman University campus.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students/youth.

An annual tradition for more than 50 years, Furman’s holiday concert features 200 students conducted by Thomas Joiner and Hugh Ferguson Floyd. The program, part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program as well as the Sound Quality Concert Series, includes Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” choral works by Franz Biebl and Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alfred Reed’s “Russian Christmas Music,” Brahms’ Chorale Prelude “There is a Rose,” Mannheim Steamroller’s “Silent Night,” and familiar carol arrangements by Arthur Harris.

Student soloists for Vivaldi’s “Gloria” are sopranos Leyly Bagherof (Greenville, S.C.), Carmen Beam (Greenville, S.C.), Hannah Camille Cox (Hickory, N.C.), Layla Dougani (Cary, N.C.), and mezzo-soprano Ashton Nicewonger (Pelion, S.C.).

For more information or advance ticket sales, call the Furman Music Office at (864) 294-2086. To purchase tickets online, follow this link.

About Thomas W. Joiner

Dr. Joiner has appears as a conductor, violinist, chamber player, and teacher throughout the United States and eleven foreign countries. At Furman, he conducts the Furman Symphony Orchestra in orchestral, operatic, and oratorio performances. He also serves as the music director and conductor of the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (N.C.). For more than three decades, Joiner served as a member of the artist-faculty of the Brevard Music Center where he was a concertmaster of the Brevard Music Festival Orchestra. Previous positions include Associate Principal Second Violin of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, first violinist with the Louisville Orchestra and Professor of Violin and Orchestral Activities at the University of Georgia School of Music. A native of Rock Hill, S.C., Joiner is a graduate of Furman University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Florida State University.

About Hugh Ferguson Floyd

Dr. Floyd is professor of music at Furman, coordinator of choral ensembles and director of the Furman Singers. He is the first recipient of the Bingham L. Vick, Jr. and Judith S. Vick Professorship of Music, established by the Furman Singers Alumni Association. Prior to his appointment at Furman, Floyd served as the director of choral studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College. He served as director of choral activities and voice instructor at the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, a guest lecturer at the Eastman School of Music, and Yale University, and is currently Artistic Director of the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Choral Studies. Floyd is a graduate of Furman University, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan.

Jazz Combos in concert Dec. 7

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Furman University Jazz Combos will present a concert Sunday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. in Daniel Recital Hall on the Furman campus.

Presented by the Furman University Department of Music, the concert is free and open to the public, and is also part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program.

The Jazz Combos are coached by Furman music faculty members Steve Watson who teaches in the jazz studies program, and Dr. Matt Olson, who directs the Furman jazz studies program. Watson and Olson will lead students in music written for small jazz ensembles featuring works from Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and other composers throughout jazz history.

Guitarist Steve Watson is Director of Jazz Studies at The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, and a lecturer at Furman. As a guitarist for the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Watson toured in Switzerland and extensively throughout the Middle East. A member of The Bruce Hornsby Band from 1978-84, Watson is now part of Watson’s Riddle, an instrumental group he formed with Paul Riddle, original drummer for the Marshall Tucker Band. Legendary Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones) is also part of the band.

Matt Olson is Associate Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at Furman University. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. He has performed with Randy Brecker, Kurt Elling, Benny Carter, John Fedchock, Doc Severinsen, Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Bernadette Peters, Lou Rawls, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, among others.

His work has been published by Downbeat magazine, The Saxophone Symposium, and Walrus Music. Matt’s debut jazz recording, “Vortex,” was released in 2006.

For more information about the event, contact the Furman University Music Department at (864) 294-2086, or email the department at

Art by Clemson professor Thum on display

"Full Flow" by Kathleen Thum. Motor oil and carbon black on laser cut paper.

“Full Flow” by Kathleen Thum. Motor oil and carbon black on laser cut paper.

Drawings and paintings by Kathleen Thum, Assistant Professor of Art at Clemson University, will be on display Nov. 10-Dec. 12 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. A reception for the artist is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m., with a gallery talk by Thum at 7 p.m., in the Roe Art Building.

The exhibition, Residuum, is free and open to the public, and is presented by the Furman Department of Art.

In an artist’s statement, Thum describes her work as “a hybrid of various human physiological systems and man-made manufacturing systems.” She depicts these systems through rendering abstract networks of forms, lines, and color. Says Thum, “Like our internal anatomy, the structures in my works are layered, linear, flowing, clustered, open, dense, intertwined; interpreting gravity, fluids, gases, and pressures. The complex relationship between the man-made and the natural has become increasing influential in my artwork. The drawings evolve as I use color and layering to create new imagery based on the fascinating inter-workings of systems both functional and dysfunctional.”

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

Furman joins #GivingTuesday campaign Dec. 2

You have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — now there is Giving Tuesday. On December 2, 2014, Furman University will be joining the third annual worldwide giving campaign. Last year, Furman raised $18,000 through the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends. This year, the University hopes to raise $20,000.

Both students and alumni can contribute to Giving Tuesday efforts. To keep with the spirit of the giving day, the development office is offering incentives for donors who contribute at certain times. Last year, these incentives included a personal call from the President, a sweatshirt from the Furman bookstore, and the chance to send a favorite professor coffee and a pastry, to name a few. As the Giving Tuesday campaign is largely social media based, donors are encouraged to post an “Unselfie” on the networks of their choice, a photo taken with a piece of paper covering your face and identifying the organization you choose to support.

Students are also gaining an opportunity to become involved. This year, students are encouraged to give to different charities sponsored by Furman groups. On December 2, student organizations will assemble outside the library publicizing their involvement in a specific charity in the Greenville area. Others will have the opportunity to learn and donate to charities that matter to them. Students will also enjoy festive incentives, possibly including coffee, donuts and parking passes in Furman’s most desired parking lots.

We look forward to seeing how the Furman community gives back this holiday season. Be sure to follow this movement on social media through #GivingTuesday, #DinsDonate, and #Unselfie.

Learn more.

Manhood and domestic violence

Dr. Ken Kolb

Dr. Ken Kolb

If individuals—and institutions like the National Football League—want to join the movement against domestic violence, they must learn what help is acceptable and what is not. They need to learn that offering to “get tough” with abusers is just about the worst idea possible. Those are the conclusions of Furman sociology professor Ken Kolb, who wrote an op-ed piece about domestic violence for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kolb, who joined the Furman faculty in 2008, published a new book this fall, Moral Wages: The Emotional Dilemmas of Victim Advocacy and Counseling.

UES hosts photography exhibition

Photo by Chet Whigham, UES Digital Photography student

Photo by Chet Whigham, Digital Photography student

Furman University Undergraduate Evening Studies (UES) will host a photography exhibition Oct. 21-Dec. 1 in the Baiden Gallery of the Herring Center on the Furman campus. The Herring Center for Continuing Education is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The exhibition, Far Peripheral, is open to the public, and includes work by UES students and faculty. Sponsoring the show is Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLC.

The exhibition features selected images by students in Digital Photography, an art course recently added to the UES curriculum. Student works will be paired with images by instructor and show curator Bryan Hiott, a fine art photographer whose work has been exhibited internationally. Hiott earned his MFA from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City where he taught prior to joining the UES faculty.

Students in UES at Furman are typically working adults committed to earning their undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Required general education courses in the arts are designed to encourage creativity and individual vision within the program, giving students opportunities to engage in new learning experiences outside their major courses. Far Peripheral will showcase students’ strengths as image-makers who engage with subject matter and present the world in new and different ways.

The event gives the community an opportunity to visit the Herring Center, home to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Corporate & Professional Development and Bridges to a Brighter Future, in addition to UES. In all, Furman’s Continuing Education Department serves more than 2,000 Upstate students annually.

For more information about Furman University UES, visit, or contact Furman’s News and Information Office at (864) 294-3107.

Appeal of “The Hunger Games”

Dr. Kyle Longest

Dr. Kyle Longest

The latest installment of the “The Hunger Games” movies hits theaters this week. Why have the books and the films, which depict a bleak, totalitarian world where young people are pitted against one another in televised death matches, been so popular with young adults? Furman sociology professor Kyle Longest suggests that teens today tend to be more individualistic, and “The Hunger Games,” as opposed to the “Harry Potter” or the “Lord of the Rings” series, is a more individualistic type of series. Longest, whose research centers on teen development, was quoted in a Greenville News article about the opening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.”

Race matters in school discipline

Dr. Paul Thomas

Dr. Paul Thomas

According to Furman education professor Paul Thomas, school discipline and the U.S. judicial system have something in common. Males, specifically black males, suffer the brunt of punishment in schools and life because they are disproportionately targeted. In an op-ed for The State newspaper, Dr. Thomas writes that acknowledging that fact is not an avenue to ignoring bad behavior, but the first step toward seeking ways in which all students succeed in school and then in life.

Singer/Songwriter Elise Barrett in concert Nov. 21

EliseBarrett Awake Album Cover, sizedSinger/songwriter, author and pastor Elise Erikson Barrett will present a concert Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in Daniel Chapel on the Furman University campus.

The event, “The Gift of Emotion: A Concert for the Head and Heart,” is free and open to the public, and is presented by Furman’s Office of the Chaplain. A reception hosted by Furman’s Wesley Fellowship will follow the event, with Barrett’s CDs available for sale and signing.

A Furman Cultural Life Program event, the concert is part of a presentation in which University Chaplain Dr. Vaughn CroweTipton explores the cultural significance of emotion, the Christian tradition surrounding it, and then offers pastoral and theological reflection on emotion as a human expression. Barrett’s music is born from deep human emotions of loss and struggle. A Q&A session follows to allow a time to discuss the role and benefit/struggle of human emotion.

In 2012, Barrett’s husband was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the difficult years that followed, Barrett was his caregiver through a failed course of chemotherapy and a successful bone marrow transplant. Throughout her life, music has been a cornerstone for Barrett. From her early years in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir through her education and experiences as a pastor and worship leader, she has found ways to integrate her singing and songwriting.

Barrett is a native of Indianapolis and is now living in Spartanburg, S.C. with her husband and three children. She is an ordained United Methodist pastor, a published writer and professional editor, an experienced retreat leader and speaker, as well as a singer/songwriter.

Barrett is author of “What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage,” which was awarded Christianity Today magazine’s “Best Book of 2011″ in the Christian Living category. Her first full-length album, “Awake,” was recorded at the historic West Coast Fantasy Studios with producer Gabriel Harley.

To learn more about Barrett, visit For more information about the concert, contact Assistant University Chaplain Maria Swearingen,, or (864) 294-2133.

Gender not a barrier for leaders

ElizabethDavisFurman president Elizabeth Davis was the keynote speaker in November at the annual ATHENA Leadership Symposium in Greenville, which actively supports talented women in their efforts to assume leadership positions.  A noted scholar, teacher, author and administrator, President Davis told the audience that gender shouldn’t be a barrier for leaders and to “make sure you focus on the goal and not the obstacles and be sure not to create the obstacles yourself.”  Davis’ appearance at the ATHENA event was chronicled in the Upstate Business Journal.