Furman reaches for the STARS and grabs the gold


Sustainability is a word that’s bandied about so much around college campuses that it loses its meaning. How exactly does one know if a campus is truly implementing best practices for sustainability?

AASHE holds the answer in its STARS program, a transparent, self-rating system which is the most widely recognized report card in the world for grading sustainability performance in higher education. Boasting more than 650 participants on six continents, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ measures performance across four different metrics: 1) operations, 2) academics, 3) engagement, and 4) planning/administration.

AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, has recently awarded Furman the coveted “Gold Rating” in recognition of its sustainability achievements. The news was celebrated in March outside Duke Library with a dessert social featuring a gold, star-shaped cake and remarks by President Elizabeth Davis and the data collection team.

Says Yancey Fouché, associate director of Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability, “Only 94 institutions reported under the latest, most stringent version of STARS; and of those, 38 achieved a gold rating. That’s quite an accomplishment for Furman, and even more noteworthy since Furman is among just a few institutions in the Southeast to reach the gold rating.”

Indeed, amid a pool of mostly larger, state-funded institutions, Furman, Emory University, Florida Gulf Coast University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Greensboro were the only Southeast universities achieving the Gold Rating under the latest reporting standards.

Compiling the data for STARS is no small feat. Leading the charge, Fouché enlisted three student fellows to painstakingly gather statistics across the entire campus, Kristian Hajny ’15, and freshmen Logan Richardson and Ying Yang. Together the team logged more than 1,000 hours on the effort, compiling and distilling qualitative and quantitative data from 50 campus contacts in support of 72 multifaceted STARS credits.

In remarks he made during the announcement of the news, Hajny says the Gold Rating is an “achievement worth celebrating.” To collar the rating, Furman earned 69 percent of all possible STARS points.

Says Hajny, “One area in which Furman has done particularly well is academics. For one academic credit we calculated that 68 percent of undergraduate courses last year provided content about sustainability principles, including at least one course in every department. Furman also excels in engagement. A STARS credit in this field looked at community service. We were able to report that roughly 2,000 of Furman’s 2,800 students participated in community service last year, contributing a total of 42,000 hours of volunteer labor.”

Says Fouché, “Furman’s high scores in academics and engagement reflect our distinctive community-based, and interdisciplinary approach to sustainability teaching, research, and partnerships.”

Hajny, Yang, and Richardson also noted that Furman made significant headway in energy and planning. Furman slashed energy usage by more than 20 million kilowatt hours, while increasing building area on campus by nearly a million gross square feet since 2005. And Furman’s master plan, “Sustainable Furman,” boosted planning credits with its strategies touching multiple aspects of campus life.

AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser says, “STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts. Furman has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

So the next time the words “sustainable campus” are tossed out for discussion, know that Furman has something to hang its hat on—it’s gold, and has five points.

For more information, Furman’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website. Or contact Yancey Fouché in the Shi Center for Sustainability, (864) 294-3656.

Susan Shi to speak on “What Really Matters” March 31

Dr. Susan Shi

Dr. Susan Shi

Susan Shi, the former First Lady at Furman University and a current member of the school’s Board of Trustees, will speak on “What Really Matters?” Tuesday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in Furman’s Daniel Chapel.

Her talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Furman’s Chaplains Office and is part of the L.D. Johnson Lecture Series.

Susan Shi spent 16 years (1994-2010) serving as Furman’s First Lady in partnership with President David Shi.  She received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Furman in 2010, and joined the Board of Trustees in 2014.  She is a 1971 graduate of Furman, and earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before returning to Furman, Shi worked for 12 years as an educator and administrator, mostly in the North Carolina public schools. She has been an active civic and community volunteer, especially in the area of education. She chaired the board of Greenville’s Alliance for Quality Education, and served on the boards of the Community Foundation, United Way and the “Success by 6” program for pre-school children.  She also chaired the board of the Institute for Child Success from its inception until 2014.

In past years, she co-chaired a committee that established educational priorities for the School District of Greenville County and served as a board member of the Northwest Crescent Child Development and Family Resource Center.

Shi’s honors include being elected to The Order of The Jessamine (2000), which recognizes contributions of women to the Upstate; receiving the School District of Greenville County’s “Superintendent’s Award” (2000); being awarded the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville’s “Ruth Nicholson Award” (2001); and having the YWCA’s “Susan T. Shi Endowment for Infant and Toddler Care” established in her honor (2002).

The L.D. Johnson Memorial Lecture Series was established in honor of the late L.D. Johnson, who served as chaplain and professor of religion at Furman for nearly 15 years before his death in 1981. He was also pastor of First Baptist Church of Greenville.

For more information, call the Furman Chaplains’ Office at (864) 294-2133.

A perfect memory

He had only stopped for a cup of coffee.

But sitting alone in a booth at Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits in Nashville was a young boy clutching a radio held together with three strips of silver duct tape.  The nine-year-old spent all his weekends at the restaurant, listening to ball games and waiting on his grandmother, who worked as the cashier.

Jim Bradford isn’t sure what impelled him to go talk to HK Derryberry, but their 30-minute conversation one Saturday back in 1999 has blossomed into fifteen years of friendship.HK sm

The unlikely pair shared their story with Furman students and faculty Friday as part of the Psychology Club’s celebration of Brain Awareness Week.

William “HK” Derryberry came into the world unexpectedly after a car accident on July 8, 1990, born blind and diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a host of other medical problems.

He also was born with an extraordinary gift known as hyperthymesia, also known as superior autobiographical memory. One of only about 50 people in the United States with the diagnosis, Derryberry has the ability to remember every event that has happened to him since he was 3 ½ years old.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University hope that studies on HK’s brain may one day lead to treatments for people suffering memory loss.

Derryberry can remember what the weather was like on a specific day a decade ago. He can tell strangers on which day of the week they were born. He can remember his blood pressure readings every time they’ve been taken. He knows a mind-boggling number of sports statistics, scores of football and basketball teams from years ago.

As a child, Derryberry’s grandmother was told he’d be confined to a wheelchair. While he isn’t able to play sports like he wants, Derryberry walks independently, has learned how to ride a horse and has even done some snow skiing.

Thanks to his friend and mentor, Jim Bradford, he was also able to enjoy more of his youth, sharing in many activities with Bradford’s family. “He let me borrow his eyes,” said Derryberry. “He would paint word pictures for me. He was proud of me.”

At one point, Derryberry was told he wouldn’t graduate high school. Again, the naysayers were wrong.

Derryberry enrolled in Tennessee School for the Blind at age three and was the first person at the school to learn how to read and write Braille with one arm. He earned his high school diploma in May 2013 at the age of 21, one of the first in his immediate family to do so.

“The only disability any of us have in life is a negative attitude,” Derryberry said. “Reach for greater accomplishments… in your lives.”

These days, Derryberry and Bradford travel together across the region, sharing their story as motivational speakers. As part of his visit to Furman, Derryberry was also made an honorary member of the Psychology Club.

“It has changed my life knowing HK,” Bradford told Furman students. “I show more compassion, more patience with people. Always look for an HK.”


Learn more about the Furman Psychology Department.

Earth Week Teach-In takes place March 25

earthweek-imageFurman University will sponsor an “Earth Week Teach-In” event on Wednesday, March 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hill Atrium of the Trone Student Center.

The public is invited to attend.

According to Michele Speitz, Ph.D., an assistant professor of English at Furman, the teach-in is “meant to be both informative and provocative. Ideally such a gathering of speakers is meant to attract attention, educate the audience, and galvanize action. The main idea is to bring our sustainability-centered work to life.”

Here is the lineup for Wednesday’s event:

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Bill Ranson, Earth and Environmental Science

“Sustainable Connections: Energy, Water, Land, Biodiversity”

12:30-1:30 p.m.

Aaron Simmons, Philosophy

“And God Saw That It Was Good: Religion and Environmental Activism”

1:30-2 p.m.

Michele Speitz, English

“Art in the Anthropocene: Politics & Ecopoetics”

2-2:15 p.m.

Greg Lewis, Biology

“Land Cover and Water Quality in Streams of the South Carolina Upstate”

2:15-2:45 p.m.

Brandon Inabinet, Communication Studies

“Earth for Dummyz: The Need for Sustainable Advocacy”

3-4 p.m.

Keynote Guest Speaker

Robert Musil, CEO of the Rachel Carson Council

For more information, contact Dr. Speitz at 864-294-3619 and michele.speitz@furman.edu.

Spring Honors Recital March 31

Honors Recital 2014

Honors Recital 2014

The Furman University Department of Music will present its Spring Honors Recital Tuesday, March 31, at 8 p.m. in Daniel Recital Hall on campus. A reception follows the event.

The recital is free and open to the public and features seven outstanding students who are nominated and selected by Furman’s music faculty.

Participants this spring are:

Jessie Barnett, mezzo-soprano
Peter Dimery, saxophone
Alexander H. Helms, euphonium
Emily Lamb, viola
James Vincent Masanotti, violin
Allison Rye, oboe
Stephanie Simon, composition

Jessie Barnett, mezzo-soprano, is the daughter of Julie and Charlie Barnett of Greenville. A vocal performance major at Furman, Barnett is the student of soprano Tamara Matthews. Barnett, who attended high school at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities, received vocal training from private teacher Thomas Dickenson and vocal coach Nancy Smith. Graduating in 2016, Barnett is a member of the Furman Singers and Chamber Choir, a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, and was the lead in Furman Lyric Theatre’s staging of Dido and Aeneas. Barnett recently won first place in the College Division of the Classical Singer regional competition and will compete at the national level in May. Barnett also participated in the Arezzo Music in Italy study-away program.

Peter Dimery, saxophone, is the son of Helen Dimery and Theodore Brown, Jr. of Florence. Graduating this year, Dimery is a music and philosophy major. He attended Wilson High School where his music teachers were Roderick Henderson and Leon Harvey. At Furman, Dimery is a student of Matt Olson, D.M.A. Dimery is a recipient of the Cunningham award, Lily Smith Blakely scholarship, winner of 2014 Pi Kappa Lambda Research Paper competition, and is a standards board member in Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

Alexander H. Helms, euphonium, is the son of Tracy and Laurie Helms of Rock Hill. A junior music education major, Helms is a student of low-brass instructor Mike Taylor. He attended Rock Hill High School where his music teachers were Joe Gulledge, Randy Grantham and Sarita Maxwell. At Furman, Helms is Phi Mu Alpha’s Fraternity Education Officer; Furman Paladin Regiment Horn Sergeant; member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education; member of Furman’s Collegiate National Association for Music Educators; and a member of the Furman Jazz Ensemble. He plays euphonium and trombone in the Furman Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. Helms was winner of the South Carolina Band Directors Association Master Recital Solo Competition in 2012, and winner of the 2014 South Carolina Music Teachers National Association Brass Young Artist competition.

Emily Lamb, viola, is the daughter of Warren and Kathy Lamb of Elizabethton, Tenn. A music theory and viola performance major, Lamb will graduate in 2016. Homeschooled during high school, Lamb’s instructor was Kellie Brown, Ed.D. Lamb’s private teacher at Furman is Anna Joiner, D.M. At Furman, Lamb has earned three semesters on the Dean’s List. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, and Vice President-Membership of Sigma Alpha Iota. She serves as theory department teaching assistant, was runner-up in the South Carolina Music Teachers National Association Young Artist competition, and is a member of the Hartness String Quartet.

James Vincent Masanotti, violin, is son of James Carmen Masanotti and Kathleen McKenna Masanotti of Goose Creek. Graduating this year in violin performance, Masanotti is taught by Furman’s Thomas Joiner, D.M. Masanotti attended South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities where his instructor was Paul Statsky. Masanotti has previously performed in Furman’s Honors Recital for composition. He is chapter historian for Gamma Eta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha, has served as Concertmaster for the Furman Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Hartness Scholarship String Quartet.

Allison Rye, oboe, is the daughter of Catherine and David Rye of Dunwoody, Ga. An oboe performance major, Rye will graduate Furman this year. At Furman, her private instructor is doctoral candidate Petrea Warneck. Rye attended Dekalb School of the Arts where she was taught by Rebecca Collins (oboe), and Michael Bell (orchestra/music theory). She participated in Furman’s Music in Italy program in the fall of 2013, was awarded the Burleson Endowed music scholarship, and made the Dean’s List spring 2012-spring 2014. Rye is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, participates in the Furman Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and in chamber ensembles at Furman. In 2012, she was a finalist in Furman’s 2012 concerto competition. She attended Hot Springs Music Festival in summer 2014, and in the same year, was selected as a participant in Pedro Diaz’s English horn masterclass at the International Double Reed Society conference.

Stephanie Simon, composition, is the daughter of Jim and Mary Simon of Campobello. A junior music composition major at Furman whose primary instrument is piano, Simon is instructed by Furman Professor of Composition and Theory Mark Kilstofte, D.M.A. She attended Oakbrook Preparatory School where her teachers were Dianne Maalouf and Chris Vaneman, D.M. Simon is a recipient of the Mary Wallace Anthony Burleson Music Scholarship, and is president of the Furman Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

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

Furman earns “gold” status for sustainability efforts

President Davis with students Ying Yang, Kris Hajny and Logan Richardson

President Davis with students Ying Yang, Kris Hajny and Logan Richardson, Shi Center for Sustainability Assessment Student Fellows

Furman University has earned a STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in recognition of its sustainability achievements across the campus.

Furman will celebrate the university’s new “gold” status with a special event on the James B. Duke Library porch Tuesday, March 24 from 12:30-2 p.m.  The celebration will include remarks by President Elizabeth Davis at 12:45 p.m.

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.  Furman’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

With more than 650 participants on six continents, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in four overall areas: 1) operations 2) academics, 3) engagement and 4) planning, administration. Furman’s high scores in academics and engagement reflect the university’s distinctive community-based, and interdisciplinary approach to sustainability teaching, research, and partnerships.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” says AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Furman has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Says Yancey Fouché, Associate Director of Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability, “Only 94 institutions have reported under the latest, most stringent version of STARS, and of those, 38 achieved a gold rating. That’s quite an accomplishment for Furman, and even more noteworthy since Furman is among just a few institutions in the Southeast to achieve the gold rating.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, the program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

For more information, contact Yancey Fouché at the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at (864) 294-3656, or yancey.fouche@furman.edu.


AASHE is an association of colleges and universities working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.

Robert K. Musil to speak about “Hope for a Heated Planet”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobert K. Musil, president and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, will speak on the Furman University campus Wednesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in Watkins Room of the Trone Student Center. A reception and book signing will follow.

His talk, “Hope for a Heated Planet: What Would Rachel Carson Do?” is presented by the Riley Institute. The event is free and open to the public, and is part of the university’s Cultural Life Program.

Dr. Musil, a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, will be on the Furman campus March 22-27, and will spend time interacting with students and discussing how they can be civically engaged, take on leadership roles, and make a difference.

The Rachel Carson Council is a legacy organization envisioned by Rachel Carson, marine biologist, conservationist, and founder of the contemporary environmental movement. Established in 1965 by Carson’s closest friends and colleagues, the council is an award-winning non-profit that works for the protection of health and the environment.

In addition to Musil’s role at the RCC, he is also senior fellow and adjunct professor at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, School of Public Affairs, American University where he teaches about climate change and American environmental politics.

From 1992-2006, Musil was the longest-serving executive director and chief executive officer of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace. Musil helped launch PSR’s environmental program in the early 1990’s and has led PSR campaigns for safe and affordable drinking water, clean air, and to prevent toxic pollution and global climate change.

He is the author of numerous articles and two books: Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers University Press, 2009) and Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment (Rutgers Press, 2014).

A long-time leader of the environmental and nuclear arms control movements, Musil has also been executive director of the Professionals’ Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control, the SANE Education Fund, the Center for National Security Studies Military Affairs Project, and CCCO: An Agency for Military and Draft Counseling. He is a former Army captain who taught communications and policy at the Defense Information School, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Ind. Musil refused orders to Vietnam and was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector.

He is a graduate of Yale University, Northwestern University and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

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

Building on a legacy of courage and compassion

elizabeth-davis-townWhat is next for Furman? For almost 190 years, through good times and bad, the university has routinely asked itself that question. As Furman’s newest president, Dr. Elizabeth Davis realizes that question hasn’t lost its power. In an op-ed for The Greenville News, President Davis looks forward, wanting to make sure Furman can remain relevant in an era when education—and liberal arts education in particular—is under increasing and intense scrutiny for its value and its utility.

Arbor Day Foundation again honors Furman

Trees with Bell Tower in backgroundThe Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Furman University as a 2014 Tree Campus USA® for its dedication to effective urban forest management. Furman has earned the honor seven consecutive years.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

To achieve the title, Furman met five required core standards for sustainable campus forestry: maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $29 million in campus forest management last year.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

Learn more about Tree Campus USA, or call the Furman News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.

Hartness Organ Series features father/son duo

Furman University’s 2014-2015 Hartness Organ Series will conclude Tuesday, March 24, at 8 p.m. with a recital in Charles E. Daniel Memorial Chapel on the Furman campus.

Part of a series celebrating 10 years since the installation of the university’s C.B. Fisk pipe organ, the recital will be presented by University Organist and Professor of Organ Charles Tompkins, D.M.A., and his son, violinist Gregory Tompkins. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students.

Music to be performed includes works for solo organ by J.S. Bach and César Franck; the first movement of Eugene Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 4 for solo violin; and works for violin and organ by contemporary composers Jean Langlais and Carl Rütti.

The recital also features the premiere performance of 1963 Furman alumnus Graham Farrell’s “A Gospel Pair: Two Duets for Violin and Organ based on Hymns of William Bradbury,” commissioned by the Furman Department of Music for the 2014-15 10th anniversary celebration of the university’s C.B. Fisk organ, Opus 121.

charles tompkins headshot, sizedAbout Charles Tompkins

Professor of Music and University Organist Charles Tompkins has been a member of the Furman faculty since 1986.  He also serves as organist of First Baptist Church in Greenville. A nationally-acclaimed organ recitalist and teacher, Tompkins received his doctorate in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music, and was awarded Eastman’s Performer’s Certificate in recognition of outstanding performing accomplishment. He holds the bachelor of music in organ performance from Eastman and the master of music from the University of Michigan.

Tompkins is an active recitalist and clinician performing each year at major universities and churches throughout the United States. He has presented recitals at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., the Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival, Charleston, S.C., and at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, and the Association of Anglican Musicians. In 2011 he performed a series of programs in France and Switzerland, including a recital at the Cathedral of  Notre Dame, Paris. He has been a featured artist at AGO regional conventions in Nashville (1995), Fort Wayne (2001), Charleston, S.C. (2003), and Columbia, S.C. (2013). Tompkins’ performances have been broadcast nationally on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams,” and his debut CD, Solemnity and Joy, was released in 2001 on the Pro Organo label.

TompkinsGregory, sizedAbout Gregory Tompkins

Violinist Gregory Tompkins, a native of Greenville, is the second violinist of the Haven String Quartet, part of the Music Haven Organization in New Haven, Conn. He is a recent graduate of New England Conservatory where he studied with Jennifer Frautschi and Lucy Chapman, and also holds a bachelor of music in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music where he was a member of the class of Charles Castleman.

An active recitalist, Gregory Tompkins has performed in a variety of venues in the eastern United States, such as the Young Artists’ series at the Niagara-on-the-Lake International Chamber Festival and Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge, Mass. He has attended summer festivals at Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Spoleto USA (Charleston, S.C.), and National Repertory Orchestra (Breckenridge, Colo.). Gregory Tompkins performs on a violin by Tschu Ho Lee graciously on loan to him from the Virtu Foundation.

For tickets or information about the recital, contact the Furman University Music Department at (864) 294-2086, or email the department at FurmanMusic@furman.edu. Tickets may also be ordered online.