Symphonic Band to present Veterans Day concert

Image by Adam Parent,

Image by Adam Parent,

The Furman University Symphonic Band will present a concert Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on campus.

The concert is open to the public. Available at the door, tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Led by Director of Bands Leslie W. Hicken, “A Veterans Day Celebration” is a concert in which each piece is either tied to a significant event in American History, or salutes our Armed Forces.

The program also includes a South Carolina premiere composition by Furman Music Professor Jay Bocook, and features Percussion Professor, Omar Carmenates who leads a group of student soloists.

Guest artists in the program are men from the Furman Singers, led by Hugh Ferguson Floyd, Director of Choral Activities.

The program includes:

The Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, arr. by John Williams

Commando March, Samuel Barber

Portraits of Valor, Jay Bocook
South Carolina Premiere Performance
Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist

Esprit de Corps Robert Jager, Chester William Schuman

Variations on America, Charles Ives, trans. by William Schuman

The Ramparts, J. Clifton Williams
Men from the Furman Singers
Hugh Ferguson Floyd, director

Eternal Father, Strong to Save, Claude T. Smith

American Salute Morton Gould

For more information, contact the Furman Band Office at (864) 294-3069.

Room named in Vaughn’s honor

Joseph Vaughn junior year photo (Bonhomie 1967)

Joseph Vaughn junior year photo (Bonhomie 1967)

Furman University renamed its MultiCultural Room in honor of Joseph Vaughn, the first African-American student to attend Furman, and held a dedication ceremony Saturday, October 25.

A Greenville native, Vaughn enrolled at the university in January 1965 and graduated in 1968. He was raised in Greenville by a single mother and served as president of the student body at Sterling High School, an African-American high school in Greenville.  In the early 1960s, students from Sterling participated in protests to desegregate the city airport, main library, skating rink and lunch counters.

Furman’s board of trustees passed a racially non-discriminatory admission policy in late 1963 and reaffirmed that policy in 1964. Furman searched for “an appropriate African-American student to admit,” and hand-selected Vaughn, who also was a member of the National Honor Society. He attended one semester at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., before enrolling at Furman.

While at Furman, Vaughn made friends, became involved with campus activities, such as cheerleading and the Southern Student Organizing Committee. He also organized and led a rally in support of students at South Carolina State University soon after the Orangeburg Massacre in 1968 and later  marched in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated.

He taught English in the Greenville County School District until he retired from teaching in 1982. He was elected president of the South Carolina Education Association in 1981. He died in 1991 in Columbia, remaining a social and political activist throughout his life.

Also, two days before Vaughn enrolled, three African-American educators – Joseph Adair, William Bowling, and James Daniel Kibler – enrolled as graduate students at the university.

Furman is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its desegregation journey’ throughout the 2014-2015 academic year with lectures, events, a history of the school’s desegregation efforts and more.

“We were tossing around ideas” to celebrate Vaughn and “landed on this” to acknowledge his importance in Furman’s history, said Idella Glenn, Ph.D., a Furman graduate and former assistant vice president for student development and director of diversity and inclusion.

The overall celebration is to show Furman’s acknowledgement of desegregation as “a milestone event,” she said. Between five percent and six percent of Furman’s study body is African American, another three percent to four percent is Asian American, two percent to three percent is Latino and about  three percent identify as international students.

Around 15 percent of Furman’s student body is multicultural, she said.

“It is much better than it was when I came here,” she said, but less than the percentage of multicultural residents of South Carolina or the country.

The Joseph Vaughn Room is a place for Furman’s multicultural students to read, study, hang out, and hold meetings of various organizations, said Nancy Cooper, Furman’s coordinator for volunteer services.

The ribbon cutting for the renamed Joseph Vaughn Room was held during Furman Homecoming events Saturday, with some of Vaughn’s family in attendance. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication, the Black Alumni Association held a brunch to honor black alumni, the renamed room and to wish Glenn a farewell. After 18 years at Furman, she is leaving for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Far Peripheral

First lady 2Our hectic lives often limit the time we spend absorbing the world around us.

The “Far Peripheral” photography exhibit at Furman’s Baiden Gallery is a collection of images that do just that. Undergraduate Evening Studies students in Bryan Hiott’s Digital Photography class paused to observe, contemplate, and capture images that exist outside the center of vision on the edges of what is usually seen.

In addition to student photographs, several of the instructor’s own images are displayed in the exhibit. Hiott, who earned his Masters of Fine Arts from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, taught at Parsons and has exhibited his work internationally. He has taught digital photography at Furman and Wofford University and art history at USC Upstate.

“I enjoy teaching. I enjoy seeing the development of each person’s creative process,” he said.

Hiott also operates a studio in Taylors Mill. His fine art photography uses the wet plate collodion process, the type of photography created by Matthew Brady in the Civil War. The images are sharp in the center and blurry around the edges. He produces images on tintype, ambrotype, and glass plates.

“I have one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 21st century,” Hiott said. “I love that push and pull, the tension between the past and the present.”

“Many of my students are taking photos for the first time,” he said, “and they often look at the world in a new way through the process.” He encourages them to view the world through a different lens.

“You can’t make a mistake about making images. It’s something you’re experiencing personally,” Hiott said.

Far Peripheral showcases the students’ strengths as image-makers who can engage with subject matter and present the world in ways they might not have realized before, said Beth Crews, director of the Undergraduate Evening Studies. Often students in business or accounting do not initially realize the value or relevance of an arts course to their career aspirations, but they often later appreciate how art can train them to see differently.

An exposure to photography as an art allows people who make not make the arts their career a chance to broaden their vision, an opportunity to explore their creativity and learn to use that creativity in different ventures, Hiott said. Photography and its creative manner of looking at the work can have a direct connection to various careers.

Furman Undergraduate Evening Studies alumna Pamela Brissey, who works with two federal judges as a courtroom deputy, encounters many different kinds of people in her job—lawyers, court officials, and staff, witnesses, and defendants. They come from all walks of life. She completed a photography project that captured life in a homeless tent city set up under a Greenville bridge. She met the residents and spent time there, getting them to trust her.

“The photos took on a life of their own, and untold donations, money and volunteers poured into ‘the people under the bridge.’ I was completely humbled and appreciative of the generous donations given on their behalf. We all learned that one person can make a difference,” Brissey said.

Hiott agreed that photography “is broadening and encouraging. It adds breadth and depth” to an individual’s life and career.

Mark Loftin, a senior financial analyst with TD Bank who is majoring in business administration, said, “Employing a visual medium permits one to convey thoughts which aren’t necessarily easy to articulate verbally.” This skill is one Loftin said he wanted to explore.

The photographs from the 12 exhibiting student photographers range from close-ups of raindrops on a leaf to a homeless tent city to sunsets at the beach and mountains. Hiott selected the photographs from work the 30 students in his classes posted to blogs they set up to display their work and connect with other students’ work.

“Some of these images might raise questions,” he said, adding that photography often raises questions instead of answering them. He said of all of them, few of which include people, that “something always implies a human presence.”

Mark Hendrix, one of his students with work in the exhibit, said in an introduction to a photo project, “I never imagined that taking a photography class would be as enlightening as this one has been. The introduction of William Eggleston’s work, however, completely changed the way I looked not only at the class but at photography. His was not just a method of capturing artful images for a display in a museum or gallery, but it was his way of capturing images of life and environment, some quirky and some off the wall, but all spoke in some way either of the subject or of the times that I could readily identify with.”

Furman University’s Undergraduate Evening Studies program has been in existence since 1958. Students in this program are working adults earning bachelor’s degrees in business administration or accounting. Elective courses in the arts are designed to encourage creativity and individual vision that will help the students in their careers.

The exhibition, presented by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLC, opened Oct. 21 and will run through Dec. 1 in the Baiden Gallery in the Herring Center on the Furman University campus.

For more information, visit

Furman advances to SRC Final Four

buddFurman will be one of four teams to participate in the Southern Rugby Conference Final Four this weekend on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus.

The Paladins (4-1 in the SRC) will open the event with a 1 p.m. game against East Carolina University (4-1).  UNC-Wilmington will face off against Appalachian State in a 3 p.m. contest. Saturday’s losers advance to the consolation game 11 a.m., Sunday. The SRC Championship game will kick at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The games will be played on recreation field 12, which is located near the track and field complex. See the UNCC Parent Page for a downloadable map.

Furman, currently ranked 22 in the nation by USA Rugby, suffered its only loss Oct. 18 in nail biter against three-time SRC champion Wilmington 48-38.

Over the past two weeks, the Paladins have been focusing on offensive timing and set pieces.

“We have had some good practices,” says Furman Coach John Roberts. “We are really healthy now and should be entering the tournament at full strength.”

Last year, Furman finished third in SRC.  Wilmington and Appalachian State have advanced to all four SRC final fours. The conference winner will advance to USA Rugby Regional Play-offs to be held November 15-16 at James Madison University.


Sunday: Kappa Delta’s Annual Shamrock 5k Run

1-3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 2, Swan Lake. Event supports child abuse prevention. Prizes for best costumes.

Furman Percussion Ensemble in concert Nov. 8

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Dr. Omar Carmenates

The Furman Percussion Ensemble will present a concert Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. in Daniel Recital Hall on the Furman campus.

Directed by Furman music faculty member Dr. Omar Carmenates, the concert is open to the public and is presented by the Furman Department of Music. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The hour-long concert includes a wide range of music by living composers from around the world. Commissioned by the Furman Percussion Ensemble, two works will receive their world premiere performances: “Hold Fast” by Ivan Trevino (from the indie rock band Break of Reality) and “Celestial Sphere” by David Crowell of the Phillip Glass Ensemble.

Also featured on the program is David T. Little’s percussive opera “Haunt of Last Nightfall.” Inspired by the 1981 massacre of more than 800 people in El Mozote, El Salvador, this epic work blends live percussion with the sound of heavy metal guitars, organ, choir, and more.

All guests are invited to participate in the “Percussion Petting Zoo” where audience members can tour the stage to see and play dozens of onstage instruments. Carmenates and members of the Furman Percussion Ensemble will also be available to answer questions about the instruments.

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.

Drug use among young rising, says speaker

In young Americans (18-25) 84 percent have consumed alcohol, 58 percent have smoked cigarettes, 52 percent have smoked marijuana, and 11 percent have tried cocaine. Most of these users are uninformed about what exactly they are putting into their bodies and completely unaware of the harmful side effects.

With consumption rates of drug and alcohol products spiking in the young adult set, the student organization PHOKUS (Promoting Healthy Options through Knowledge, Understanding, and Service) brought in Shawn K. Desai, Ph.D., J.D. in an attempt to help students better understand the dangerous consequences of these widely used substances.

Dr. Desai spoke Thursday to about 100 students in Johns Hall 101 in the CLP, “Drugs and Alcohol: What’s Going On?” Desai serves as the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Aeon Clinical Laboratories, a Georgia company that works with intricate technology to understand and identify various drugs.

The presentation included a brief summary on alcohol and drugs such as tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, and meth. Desai shared the chemical makeup and the possible side effects of each substance. His presentation imparted information like how to properly recognize alcohol poisoning, and the fact that long-term marijuana use could lead to mental illness and decreased IQ. However, Desai’s main take home message was for students to never try cocaine. His point was brought home by showing students a short documentary on Len Bias, a highly talented basketball player who, after only a few times, died from using cocaine.



Homecoming 2014: It’s a wrap

Victor and a fan. (photo by Jordan Allums '18)

Victor and a fan. (photo by Jordan Allums ’18)

Furman compiled a series of triumphs on Friday when men’s soccer crushed ETSU 3–0, women’s soccer defeated UNCG 4–1, and volleyball beat Mercer 3–1.

On Saturday, the volleyball team was again victorious with a 3–0 win against The Citadel. The rugby team hosted their annual alumni game in which the alumni team, which included a few Furman upperclassmen, triumphed over the current team 65-17.  Sadly, the football squad fell to the Samford Bulldogs 45–0 during a heartbreaking homecoming football game. With this loss, the Paladins drop to a record of 2-6 overall and 1–2 in the Southern Conference.

At halftime, Coady Shovlain and Sara Kathryn DeVenny were crowned Furman’s Homecoming king and queen.

The winners of the spirit week competitions were announced during the game. Both the spirit award and the t-shirt award were presented to Kappa Alpha and Kappa Kappa Gamma. Sigma Chi and Alpha Delta Pi won the chalking contest while Sigma Nu and Delta Gamma earned the award for best banner. Beta Theta Pi and Chi Omega took the award for best float. Engaged Living stole the show with a win for their horseplay skit.

Kappa Alpha and Kappa Kappa Gamma came in third place overall. Second place overall was awarded to Pi Kappa Phi and Kappa Delta. The winners of Homecoming Spirit Week 2014 were Beta Theta Pi and Chi Omega. The winners of FUSAB’s Havoc Competition were also announced. Natalia Arenas took third place while Matt Reeve placed second. First place was presented to RJ McDowell. For photos of the weekend see the university Flikr page.