The Riley Institute at Furman University has announced that Rep. Jay Lucas (R-Darlington), South Carolina Speaker of the House, and Bill Barnet, former mayor of Spartanburg, are recipients of the Institute’s annual David H. Wilkins awards recognizing outstanding legislative and civic leadership in the state.
Lucas will be honored with the 2014 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership, while Barnett will receive the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership.
The 10th annual awards dinner will take place at the Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 on the first night of the legislative session. The keynote speaker for the event is Bob Schieffer, Emmy Award-winning reporter and host of CBS News “Face the Nation.”
A reception for all registered attendees will begin at 6 p.m., and the dinner and awards presentation will follow at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased by calling 864-235-8330 or visiting the Riley Institute website. Table sponsorships are also available.
The annual ceremony honors David Wilkins, who served as speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives and as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Wilkins will co-host the event with former U.S. Secretary of Education and former two-term Governor of South Carolina Dick Riley and Furman President Elizabeth Davis.
Lucas, who represents District 65, was elected speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives on Dec. 2. First sworn in as state legislator from the Pee Dee in 1998, he was elected speaker pro tempore in 2010 and became acting speaker in September 2014. During his 15 years as a state representative, Lucas has served as co-chairman of the South Carolina House Rural Caucus and as ex officio member of the operations and management committee. He has been named the legislator of the year by Paul’s Foundation, South Carolina Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, and the South Carolina Solicitors’ Association.
Barnet is a community leader and the former mayor of Spartanburg (2002-2009) as well as CEO of Barnet Development Corporation. From working for the passage of the Education Accountability Act to chairing the state’s Education Oversight Committee, he has played a key role in education improvement in South Carolina. He currently serves on the boards of the International African American Museum, the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health, and The Duke Endowment. He is also chair of the Northside Development Corporation in Spartanburg, a community partnership that is transforming a neighborhood and creating an infrastructure of opportunity for its residents.
The Riley Institute at Furman offers a broad array of programs designed to engage students and citizens across South Carolina in the various arenas of politics, public policy and public leadership.
For more information, contact the Riley Institute at 864-294-3546 or e-mail Jill.Fuson@furman.edu.
A musical work by Furman University music professor Dr. Mark Kilstofte will be aired on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” Monday, Dec. 22.
The composition, “Peace,” was performed by the Cantus Chamber Choir from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Nov. 6 at the Peace Center before a live audience.
“Peace,” conceived during the aftermath of 9/11, was selected by the ensemble’s director, David Rhyne, for its powerful interpretation of Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poetry and its modern-day relevance.
“From the Top,” with host Christopher O’Riley, is distributed by National Public Radio and taped before live audiences across the United States. The show celebrates the accomplishments and stories of extraordinary young classical musicians. “From the Top” is carried by 250 public radio stations across the country and is estimated to reach 700,000 listeners around the world.
The Cantus Chamber Choir was honored as one of five performers to be featured on the show. Twenty vocalists from the Governor’s School took part in the November taping. In addition to participating in the elite choral ensemble, students work weekly in private studio voice lessons and perform each semester in opera scenes and recitals.
Kilstofte, Furman University Professor of Music Composition and Theory, is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, strong, dramatic gesture and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “exciting and beautiful, consistently gripping,” his music has garnered a number of awards and honors including the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP’s Rudolf Nissim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award (three times) and the Gardner Read and Francis & William Schuman Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony.
A Greenville resident, Kilstofte has also earned commissions from the Dale Warland Singers and the Fromm Foundation. His music, performed regularly throughout the United States and Canada, has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and is heard in concert halls from Moscow to Bangkok. His music is published by Newmatic Press. More information about Kilstofte may be found at this link.
For more information, contact the Furman News and Information Office at (864) 294-3107.
If you want to buy stock that rests on the future of a soccer team—or any other type of sports team—Furman junior Andrew Kaonga soon will have a game available for you.
Although Kaonga , a mathematics and economics major, and his summer research advisor, Dr. Tom Smythe, associate professor of business and accounting at Furman, have not yet named the game, it is based on how both the stock market and gambling work.
The idea for the game has been percolating for year, Kaonga said.
“It all started in the ninth grade,” the Zambian native, said. “My friends and I, we played cards in elementary school, something we were not supposed to do.” In high school, the card games and gambling continued. As he matured and learned more, he compared his small-time betting to both soccer games and the stock market.
Smythe agreed that comparisons exist.
“You have companies. You invest and you get out,” he said. When betting on soccer, people place bets on the game. But “if you lose, you lose everything.”
During the Zambian mandatory gap year before college, Kaonga began considering a college in the United States. He met a U.S. Embassy employee who had attended Furman and recommended the school. He applied to Furman and as part of his application, he presented his idea for a soccer-betting game. A Furman official sent the idea to immigration officials, who said it has a business potential.
The idea rested there until last year when he discovered Fantex, a company that set up an online betting game. The difference is that they used players rather than teams. They used National Football League players, who received money from the betting while the company received a fraction of the bet.
“I was a little bit panicked,” he said of the discovery.
He talked with Furman professors about working on the game as a summer research project.
“It was different, a different form of summer research,” Smythe said. “It was related to a lot of things.”
In addition, Kaonga’s idea was different from other online gambling and fantasy sports games, Smythe said. In fantasy football, the player creates a team of the players he wants. And most gambling is match by match, game by game. Kaonga’s game instead is based on existing teams and their seasons.
Smythe’s first recommendation was that Kaonga undertake more research to determine if any other programs like his were available. He found some that were similar but none were really the same.
“One of the things that is attractive about this is it’s just like a stock market,” Smythe said. “If a team loses a key player, the likelihood of winning goes down. If a company produces a bad product or loses a CEO, the stock price can go down.”
However, “in pure gambling, you can lose everything,” Kaonga said. “With this game, that’s not possible. Even if you lose all the games, you can lose only up to a maximum amount. If all the games are lost, that would be 50 percent of the investment.”
“We’re setting it up to take the gambling edge off it,” Smythe said, adding that it will be based on a team’s skills” rather than pure luck. Initially, the beginning of season will begin with something similar to an Initial Public Offering, where game owners set an estimated value of the team and investors bid on buying shares, or certificates, of the team.
It also will be set up so “investors” can win or lose on each game, and a secondary market will be developed to allow trading.
One plus for an investor is that he could get all his money back if the team he is investing in should upset a No. 1 team, Kaonga said.
The game is expected be in a testing, or simulation, status by next summer, probably using the five World Cup soccer teams, Smythe said. The investors, using virtual money, will be students in Furman’s business and accounting department. Links will be provided to team sites and other sports sites and information on the teams will be available.
“Generally what matters is getting information about the teams and players,” Kaonga said. “We can pretty much play this game in any league.”
Like buying stocks, players will buy certificates that can be traded with others playing during a certain time window. They will post trade orders just as those buying stocks do. In later simulations, the creators of the game could even introduce short selling, which occurs when an investor thinks the value of a team will drop for some reason.
“We become the match makers. We create a market. We fully expect some people to just buy a team because they know it,” Smythe said.
That also is much like the stock market where some investors buy stocks of companies they do business with or about whom they have heard good things, he said.
During the testing phase, “we’re trying to learn whether or not it really follows market dynamics,” Smythe said.
Kaonga’s short-term goal is to see if the game works and if people remain interested in playing.
“It is a market, but it has characteristics of its own,” he said.
Smythe said he would like to see the game become a business. “The biggest obstacle is if somebody in the market develops something like this.”
That is a possibility, Kaonga said, because his soccer-trading market “directly competes with the gambling sites and the stock market. But if he and Smythe can pull it off, “it could be lucrative.”
Smythe said the game could be used in investment and market classes at Furman and could be based on any sport.
Kaonga, with a goal of becoming an entrepreneur, expects to return to Zambia but could stay in the United States for some years before returning. He anticipates the game could work well in developing countries.
“It makes it interesting in very poor countries,” he said. “Information about sports is what you have a lot of. Companies, not so much. Companies also can lie” while sports team results are out there for all to see.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
The Furman University Chamber Wind Ensemble will present a concert Tuesday, Dec. 9 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.
The Chamber Wind Ensemble is conducted by Professor of Clarinet Dr. Robert Chesebro who is in his 50th year as a Furman faculty member. Retiring after this academic year, Chesebro will conduct 11 musicians in the program featuring works by Anton Reicha, Paul Hindemith, Charles Gounod, and Gordon Jacob.
The members of the Chamber Wind Ensemble are:
Akari Ogawa, flute
Douglas Harvill, Allison Rye, and Clare Miller, oboe
Evan Haight, Elizabeth Douglass, and Lydia Porter, clarinet
Brent Patteson and Mara Chamlee, horn
Bryson Wightman and Rachael Dennis, bassoon
Joining the music faculty in 1965, Chesebro is the Charles E. Daniel Professor of Music at Furman and a Yamaha Artist/Clinician. He has completed 25 seasons as musical director and conductor of the Carolina Youth Symphony. He has also conducted the Furman University Symphonic Band, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Hendersonville Symphony, Greenville Little Theater, Carolina Ballet Theater, and several all-state bands.
As an artist and clinician for the Yamaha Corporation, Chesebro provides woodwind clinics for students with a special “how to practice” routine. Recently, he joined Tod Kerstetter to co-author “The Everyday Virtuoso,” a book featuring a structured approach to developing virtuoso technique for advanced high school and college students. Chesebro holds doctorate and master’s degrees from Indiana University and a bachelor’s from Wisconsin State University.
For more information about the event, contact the Furman University Music Department at (864) 294-2086, or email the department at FurmanMusic@furman.edu.