Riley Institute announces Wilkins award winners

Jay Lucas

Jay Lucas

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.”

Bill Barnet

Bill Barnet 

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.

Students recognized for scholarship in political science

2014 Student Award Winners (2)

The Political Science Department recently presented the following 2013-2014 student awards, from left: Katherine Martin and Katie Lowery, The Henry P. Jones Medal in Political Science; Alison Bressler, Shane Farmer and Maddison Hall, Political Science Faculty Award; and Brian Boda, Political Science Chair’s Award. Shown with them is Department Chair and Professor Danielle Vinson. Not shown is Charlotte Holt, recipient of The S. Sidney Ulmer Medal in Political Science.

Senior honors essay award winners were Michael Scholtens and Andrew Mueller. Two students also received university medals. Brian Boda received an American Legion Medal. Charlotte Holt was presented with the Chiles-Harrill Award, the Donaldson-Watkins Medal for General Excellence, the American Legion Medal and the Alumni Award for Academic Excellence.

Sterling LEGO team visits Furman

Lego 2

Sterling School’s LEGO League team, the Hyperbolics, visited the Furman Psychology Department last week. This extraordinary group of 10 Greenville County elementary school students have been working together to tackle the perplexing challenge of behavioral change. They designed two innovative prototypes that will help people to modify their unwanted habits. They’re currently in the process of testing the effectiveness of these prototypes. Psychology Professor Erin Hahn and Jennifer Duer ’16 met with the team and their coaches to talk about what psychologists have discovered about lasting behavioral change. The team will compete later this month. Good luck, Hyperbolics!

 

CBS News Host Bob Schieffer to speak at Riley Institute event

Bob Schieffer (CBS NEWS/CRAIG BLANKENHORN)

Bob Schieffer (CBS NEWS/CRAIG BLANKENHORN)

Bob Schieffer, Emmy Award-winning reporter and host of CBS News “Face the Nation,” will be the keynote speaker at the Riley Institute at Furman University’s 10th annual David H. Wilkins awards dinner to be held in Columbia Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

The event, which takes place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on the first night of the legislative session, honors the recipients of the 2014 Wilkins awards for Excellence in Legislative Leadership and for Excellence in Civic Leadership.  The award winners will be announced next week.

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 Ambassador David Wilkins for his efforts as then-Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives to bring people together to effect positive change in South Carolina. Ambassador Wilkins will co-host the event with former U.S. Secretary of Education and two-term Governor of South Carolina Dick Riley and Furman President Elizabeth Davis.

Schieffer has been a reporter for more than half a century and has worked at CBS News since 1969.  He is one of the few reporters in Washington to have covered all four of the major beats: Pentagon, White House, Congress and State Department. He has interviewed every president since Richard Nixon as well as most of those who sought the office.

Schieffer became CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent in 1982 and was named anchor and moderator of Face the Nation, the No. 1 Sunday morning public affairs program, in 1991.

Schieffer also anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News for 23 years and, in March 2005, with the departure of Dan Rather, served as interim anchor of the CBS Evening News until August 2006.

He has won virtually every award in broadcast journalism, including seven Emmys, the overseas Press Club Award, the Paul White Award, and the Edward R. Murrow Award.  In 2008, he was named a living legend by the Library of Congress.  The journalism school at Texas Christian University, Schieffer’s alma mater, is named in his honor.

He is the author of four books, including The New York Times bestsellers This Just In and Bob Schieffer’s America, and in 2013, was inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

For more information, contact the Riley Institute at 864-294-3546 or e-mail Jill.Fuson@furman.edu.

Kilstofte’s “Peace” to be aired on NPR’s “From the Top”

Mark Kilstofte at pianoA 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.

Furman to host D2 Rugby Final Four this weekend

Furman University will host the 2014 USA Rugby Men’s Division II College National Championship and the American Collegiate Rugby Championship December 6-7. The two-day event features some of the finest college rugby programs in the nation.

“USA Rugby is pleased to return to Furman University for the USA Rugby Men’s Division II College National Championship,” said USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez. “Last year’s championship was highlighted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s redemption victory over perennial power Salisbury University. This year’s playoffs were even better than last year, so the last four teams standing deserve proper recognition for their championship seasons. This Championship is made possible by the collaboration of all of the DII Conferences across the United States. We are extremely pleased Furman University Rugby, under the direction of John Roberts, has agreed to host this Championship on their extraordinarily beautiful campus.”

The four semifinalists competing for the DII National Championship will be reigning National Champion University of Minnesota Duluth, 2011 winner UW-Whitewater, Notre Dame College and James Madison University.

Notre Dame College will face University of Wisconsin Whitewater at noon on Saturday. At 2 p.m., University of Minnesota Duluth will play James Madison. On Sunday, the consolation game will kick off at 11 a.m. with the finals to follow at 1 p.m.

Furman, the host team, advanced to the round of 16 but was eliminated November 15 in a narrow 17-15 loss to Notre Dame.

All matches will be played on John S. Roberts Field, which is located adjacent to Paladin Stadium.

Game on

Kaonga_Smythe_004

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.

 

 

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 appeared as a conductor, violinist, chamber player, and teacher throughout the United States and 11 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.

Chamber Wind Ensemble in concert Dec. 9

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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.

Furman to host USA Rugby D2 Final Four

Furman University will host the 2014 USA Rugby Men’s Division II College National Championship and the American Collegiate Rugby Championship December 6-7. The two-day event features some of the finest college rugby programs in the nation.

“USA Rugby is pleased to return to Furman University for the USA Rugby Men’s Division II College National Championship,” said USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez. “Last year’s championship was highlighted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s redemption victory over perennial power Salisbury University. This year’s playoffs were even better than last year, so the last four teams standing deserve proper recognition for their championship seasons. This Championship is made possible by the collaboration of all of the DII Conferences across the United States. We are extremely pleased Furman University Rugby, under the direction of John Roberts, has agreed to host this Championship on their extraordinarily beautiful campus.”

The four semifinalists competing for the DII National Championship will be reigning National Champion University of Minnesota Duluth, 2011 winner UW-Whitewater, Notre Dame College and James Madison University.

Notre Dame College will face University of Wisconsin Whitewater at noon on Saturday. At 2 p.m., University of Minnesota Duluth will play James Madison. On Sunday, the consolation game will kick off at 11 a.m. with the finals to follow at 1 p.m.

Furman, the host team, advanced to the round of 16 but was eliminated November 15 in a narrow 17-15 loss to Notre Dame.

All matches will be played on John S. Roberts Field, which is located adjacent to Paladin Stadium