CLP-“They should be taught to love it”

4p.m.-5p.m., Tue. Sept. 1st. at Furman Hall 214. 5th Annual Francis Bonner “American Scholar” Lecture. Speaker: Laura Kennedy, Ph.D.

Faculty Showcase

2:30p.m., Tue. Sept. 1st at the Daniel Memorial Chapel. Performances by Charles Tompkins, Daniel Koppelman, Gary Malvern, & Xin Gao.


10a.m.-12.p.m., Thursday, September 3 McAlister Auditorium. Fall 2015 Convocation Ceremony

Leading the way

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

A framed picture of an iconic campus scene has pride of place in the president’s hallway at Furman. On the white mat that surrounds the painting are hundreds of student signatures captured in the days before Elizabeth Davis’ inauguration. Dr. Davis sees this gift every time she arrives at her office door. “As I said in my inaugural address, students are a true source of joy for me,” she says. “After they gave this to me, we hung it in a prominent place to make it clear that I’m here for them and they are always welcome visitors in my office.” President Davis talked about her first year as Furman’s president in an interview for The Duke Endowment E-Newsletter.

Furman awards 66 degrees at summer commencement

Read commencement speech by Dr. Quast

Dr. Lesley Quast

Dr. Lesley Quast

Lesley Quast, Professor of Education Emerita at Furman University, served as speaker when Furman held its summer commencement exercises earlier this month in Daniel Recital Hall.

The university awarded 66 undergraduate and graduate degrees during commencement.  Furman president Elizabeth Davis presided over the ceremony.

Quast, who joined Furman in 1976, retired from the faculty at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.  In addition to serving as an Assistant Academic Dean at the university, she was chair of the Education Department and Director of Teacher Education. She also served as the Director of Partnerships and Special Projects as well as National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Coordinator.

A graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Quast received her master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Ed. D. from the University of Alabama. She also spent one summer at the University of Salzburg studying German, and one year doing doctoral internships at the University of Virginia.

Quast has held international and state leadership positions in the Council for Exceptional Children. She was a charter executive committee member of the South Carolina Network for Educational renewal and served as the liaison between South Carolina and the National Network for Educational Renewal from 1991-2006.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Furman awards Heller Community Scholarships

max heller sized bwFurman University has awarded major scholarships to 14 graduates of Greenville County high schools for the 2015-16 academic year. The students are currently enrolled as freshmen at the university.

Established in fall 2012, the $20,000 scholarship is available yearly to one student at each of the 18 Greenville County high schools. This year, students from 14 of the 18 schools showed intent to attend Furman. Recipients for 2015-16 include students from 12 public high schools, one charter school, and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities. The goal of the scholarship is to encourage talented local students to remain in the area and strengthen their commitment to the Upstate.

The Heller Community Scholarship is named in honor of the late Max Heller, former mayor of Greenville and Furman trustee who was well known for his exemplary work in the Greenville community, and whose life was a monument to leadership, education, mentorship and a passion for learning.

The scholarships are awarded based on the recommendation of the student’s high school administration, commitment to attending Furman, and evidence of admissibility to Furman’s undergraduate program. The scholarships are renewable for four years provided the student remains in good academic standing with the university.

The recipients of the 2015-16 Max Heller Community Scholarships are:

Blue Ridge High School
Sarah Livingston
From Taylors, Ms. Livingston plans to study music at Furman. She is the daughter of Robert and Susan Livingston (29687).

Eastside High School
Finley Buchanan
A Greenville resident who will pursue art at Furman, Ms. Buchanan is the daughter of Furman and Kim Buchanan (29615).

Greenville High School
Sarah Moyd
Greenville resident Sarah Moyd is the daughter of Daniel and Telisa Moyd (29615). Ms. Moyd will study health sciences at Furman.

Greer High School
Harmony Thomas
From Greer, Ms. Thomas plans to major in education, and is the daughter of Clark and Nancy Thomas (29615).

Greer Middle College Charter High School
Mutaz Sarhan
Mr. Sarhan of Greer is the son of Mohammed Sarhan and Saeda Eid (29650). He will begin a pre-health track at Furman.

Hillcrest High School
Sean Allwurden
Fountain Inn resident Mr. Allwurden is the son of Klaus and Kathleen Allwurden (29644). He plans to study earth and environmental science.

JL Mann High School
Amal Momani
Ms. Momani, a Greer resident, is the daughter of Radi and Reem Momani (29650). She will pursue an education track at Furman.

Mauldin High School
Reed Horton
A Simpsonville resident who plans to major in education, Mr. Horton is the son of Anthony Horton and Tammy Goodlett (29681).

Riverside High School
Juhi Saxena
A resident of Simpsonville, Ms. Saxena will enter the pre-health program at Furman. She is the daughter of Drs. Naveen Saxena and Vinita Srivastava (29681).

Southside High School
Haley Brummett
Greenville resident Ms. Brummett is the daughter of Richard and Celeste Brummett (29605). Her academic focus will be health sciences.

Travelers Rest High School
Hezekiah Cooper
Mr. Cooper, a Greenville resident who plans to major in economics, is the son of Wyndel and Amanda Cooper (29611).

Wade Hampton High School
Elizabeth Garcia Ponte
Elizabeth Garcia Ponte of Greer is the daughter of Elbio Garcia and Alicia Ponte (29651). Ms. Garcia will study chemistry at Furman.

Woodmont High School
Abigail Emerson
Simpsonville resident Abigail Emerson is the daughter of John and Heidi Emerson (29680). Ms. Emerson plans to major in political science.

South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities
Rachel Cooke
Music student Rachel Cooke is a Greenville resident, and daughter of Gary and Barbara Cooke (29615).

For more information about the Max Heller Community Scholarship, contact Furman’s Office of Admission at (864) 294-2034.

How will Bernie Sanders do in South Carolina?

Dr. Danielle Vinson

Dr. Danielle Vinson

Over the weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders was in the key early primary state of South Carolina. He’s been drawing huge crowds around the country in his campaign for the Democratic nomination, but South Carolina could prove to be a big hurdle. Furman political science professor Danielle Vinson commented about just how big that challenge might be for Sanders as part of a piece on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”  Vinson calls Sanders an “odd choice” for South Carolina Democrats, who tend to be relatively conservative.

Furman announces new endowed professorships

Furman University announced this week that four faculty members have been appointed to endowed professorships at the university.

Two of the new professorships are lifetime appointments, while the other two are for limited terms.

“These outstanding professors were selected in recognition of their record of teaching, scholarship and service to Furman,” said Dr. John Beckford, Furman’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean. “The University is fortunate to have the support of generous donors who understand the value of a strong faculty and the resources needed to help in its development.”

Here are the new appointments:

  • Leslie Hicken was named the Charles Ezra Daniel Professor of Music, a lifetime appointment. Hicken joined the university in 1993 and earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University.
  • Joni Tevis was selected as the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature, a lifetime appointment. Tevis, an Associate Professor of English, joined the university in 2008 and received her Ph.D. from the University of Houston.
  • Lisa Knight, Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, was named the James B. Duke Professor of Asian Studies, a three-year appointment.  She joined the university in 2004 and earned her Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
  • Nathaniel Cook was selected as the Robert E. Hughes Associate Professor of Economics, a three-year appointment. Cook joined Furman in 2008 and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Gifts from donors and foundations support 24 endowed lifetime professorships and nine rotating (limited term) professorships at Furman.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Historical marker for boyhood home of former Furman president Plyler

The Travelers Rest birthplace and boyhood home of former Furman president Dr. John L. Plyler has been recognized with a South Carolina Historical Marker.

john-plyler-markerThe house is located at 302 N. Main Street in Travelers Rest, and the marker is located across the street on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The ceremony for the historical marker took place July 18 in a ceremony at the Travelers Rest Sargent Branch Library.

Plyler, who served as Furman’s president from 1939 to 1964, was born in Travelers Rest on Jan. 12, 1894.  His family moved to Greenville in 1898.

Plyler graduated from Furman in 1913 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  He received a LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1921 and a LL.D. from Erskine College in 1939.  Before going to law school, he served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I.  He was also awarded honorary Doctorate of Letters degrees from Wofford College and Furman.

Plyler taught in Furman’s new Law School beginning in 1922, eventually becoming Dean of the Law School until it closed in 1932.  He was also an Instructor in Economics at Furman, and served on the Board of Trustees.  He became Furman’s president in 1939 and oversaw the university’s move to its current campus.  He died in April of 1966 at the age of 72.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Sharon and Scott Rankin Close Soccer Field House Fundraising with $250,000 Gift

Soccer Fieldhouse

Complex set to be complete this October

It was one of those down to the wire situations athletes know so well. The ready to be built soccer field house was nearing construction when a fire marshal review indicated a need for additional funds to finish the project.

“We had the blueprints and the funding for a game-day facility. But the problems we faced with the fire marshal’s inspection led to an opportunity to create a full time soccer operations building instead,” says Clint Hill ’03, director of athletic fundraising. “However, we were going to need an additional $400,000 to get it done,” he adds.

Hill and the soccer staff appealed to the “soccer family” once more. A story that began with the leadership of Jarrell ’00 and Graham ‘00 Seagraves and the altruism of the Spinks Family now had its final set of heroes. This spring, parents Sharon and Scott Rankin (daughter, Melanie ’18) stepped up with the capstone gift of $250,000.

The Rankins are leading philanthropists in their Pennsylvania community. “Many people need help and someone has to do it. We do a lot of work with families in our area. In fact, we have six businesses and each one began with a business plan stating that 10 percent of revenue must be given back to our community,” says Scott.

The Rankins’ daughter, Melanie, is beginning her sophomore year at Furman and is a member of the womens soccer team. “When one of our kids is going to a school we want to support it. We are all about giving to bricks and mortar. So, since Melanie plays soccer and attends Furman, this gift seemed like the perfect fit,” Scott adds.

The Rankins had never heard of Furman until Melanie became interested in the University. “When we were looking, Furman really stood out because of the quality of the soccer program,” Scott says. He hopes that the addition of the new soccer complex will change what he perceives to be a lack of awareness. “Soccer is perhaps not as prominently featured as it should be on campus. This building will make it look more like the first class operation that it is – it completes what has already been done.”

Of the major gifts they have made over the years, this will be the first to bear the family name – the upstairs foyer of the facility will be dubbed Rankin Hall. It will serve as an important recruiting space and reflect the history and success of both programs.  “It is not to bring acclaim to us as a family. Not too many people know about [our philanthropy] but we want them to know and hear our story so they will consider being involved, too.”

This facility is a story of perseverance, generosity, and patience. It may have taken an extra year to finalize the Spinks Field House, but it will now include a second floor with a covered porch overlooking the pitch, coaches’ offices and locker room, and recruiting space. Hill says, “This building is twice what we set out to do and we are thrilled to add the finishing touches that will ultimately be one of the nicest stadiums in all of college soccer.”

The new complex is scheduled to be completed at the end of October. The official dedication of Spinks Field House will be this spring.

If you have not yet made a contribution to the facility and wish to add your name to the donor list, or if you would like to buy and personalize a “legacy brick” for $500 (two-year pledges accepted), please call Betsy Moseley, 864.294.3491, or e-mail The legacy bricks will be placed in the home side plaza beside the Spinks Field House.