Furman takes first place in two video contests

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Furman University has won first place in two separate sustainability video competitions.

Furman took first prize in a contest sponsored by Green Living Project, a film production and distribution company. The GLP Student Film Project, part of the education program at GLP, awarded Furman top honors in the college division for its “Gardening for Good” video by students in Dr. Weston Dripps’ First Year Seminar, and who also took part in his ECOS (Environmental Community of Students) Engaged Living class last year. The students are sophomores Josie Newton, Tim Sharp and Melanie Brown. Their winning film features a local NGO, Gardening for Good, whose executive director is a Furman alum, Reece Lyerly ’11. The video can be viewed on the GLP website found here.

In a contest sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), the ACS Sustainability Film Competition, Furman took first place for the video, “Sustain Furman.” Freshmen in Dr. Dripps’ current ECOS Engaged Living Environmental Science class crafted the video which documents the numerous ways Furman is working toward its goal of achieving campus carbon neutrality by 2026. It features a series of interviews with the students, faculty, and staff behind Furman’s sustainability efforts. To view the video, visit this link on YouTube.

Taking second place in the ACS competition was the video, “Sustainability in the ACS: Furman University,” which was submitted by Furman freshman Haena Chon. The judges gave Chon’s video high marks for its beautiful and thought-provoking imagery of campus sustainability efforts. To view Chon’s video, visit this link on YouTube.

For more information about the videos, contact Weston Dripps, Chair, Earth and Environmental Sciences department at (864) 294-3392, or weston.dripps@furman.edu. Or contact Furman’s News and Information Office at (864) 294-3107.

Republicans poised for big gains, says Vinson

The Republican Party will emerge as the winner in next month’s midterm elections, Furman University Political Science Professor and Chair Danielle Vinson told a crowd of about 100 people Wednesday at the Upcountry History Museum. The question is, she said, how big will the victory be?

Vinson offered her predictions about the outcomes of Congressional races and what those results will mean for the political future of America. Her talk was the fifth of eight consecutive events in the university’s High noon lecture series this fall.

Republicans are defending six fewer seats in the Senate than Democrats, and seven of the Democratic seats are in states won by Mitt Romney. “This is not good news for Democrats,” Vinson said.

Political trends in recent years also give predictors of how November’s races will turn out. Only twice since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, in 1998 and 2002, has the President’s party gained in mid-term elections.  With President Obama’s approval rating at 40 percent, it is unlikely that Democrats will turn out to vote in large numbers, she said.

Three current issues also favor the GOP, according to Vinson. ISIL and Ebola, both security issues, and government incompetence with matters at veterans’ hospitals and the Center for Disease Control, have remained high-profile in recent months. While media reports on the recovering economy continue, they haven’t helped Democrats. The party will likely lose between eight and 10 seats in the House, Vinson said.

“The Senate will go Republican, but the question is, by how much?” she said.

Senate races in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Georgia and Kansas could be some of the most interesting to watch. In some cases, such as Louisiana where a run-off is a possibility, the outcome may not be known until January, Vinson said.

10.14 elephant“There won’t be many upsets… The deck is simply stacked against Democrats this time,” she said. “In 2016, it will be stacked against Republicans.”

Political Science major Matthew Nickels ’17 of Brentwood, Tenn. was one of the youngest members of the audience. One of his priorities as vice president of the College Republicans is to provide students with more opportunities to get involved with government, he said. Nickels and other students were involved in promoting Gov. Nikki Haley’s visit to campus Tuesday for the gubernatorial debate.

The College Republicans are co-sponsoring a voter registration drive at the Trone Student Center this week with the NAACP and the College Democrats. “We want to get students excited about politics,” he said.

The Upcountry History Museum/Furman is located at 540 Buncombe Street in downtown Greenville’s Heritage Green area. All lectures in the High Noon series are free and begin at noon on Wednesdays.

A complete schedule of lectures is available on Furman’s website.

For more information, contact Furman’s Marketing and Public Relations office at 864-294-2185 or e-mail Marie Newman-Rogers at marie.newman-rogers@furman.edu

Remembering a lone voice against the Vietnam War

2014 Fall High Noon Schedule

Dr. Sean O'Rourke

Dr. Sean O’Rourke

Fifty years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which opened the door for America’s involvement in Vietnam. Among the two dissenting voices in Congress was Sen. Wayne Morse of Oregon, who gave an impassioned and historic speech against the resolution’s passage.

Furman communication studies professor Sean O’Rourke will examine the speech and Morse’s prescient arguments against what would become the most controversial war in U.S. history when he speaks at the university’s High Noon fall lecture series Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman.

His lecture—“50 Years Later: Senator Wayne Morse, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Vietnam War”—begins at noon.

O’Rourke’s talk is the sixth of eight consecutive lectures presented by Furman professors during the fall.  All lectures are free and begin at noon on Wednesdays.

The Upcountry History Museum/Furman is located at 540 Buncombe Street in downtown Greenville’s Heritage Green area.

For more information, contact Furman’s Marketing and Public Relations office at 864-294-2185 or e-mail Marie Newman-Rogers at marie.newman-rogers@furman.edu.

A gap year before Furman

gap-year-elizabeth-campbellIt’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are embracing the “gap year”—a year of volunteering and working before heading to campus. Elizabeth Campbell, a Furman freshman from Little Rock, Ark., did just that by deferring her admission to Furman for a year and moving to Seville, Spain, as part of a gap year program with the Council on International Educational Exchange.  Read more in Metro.

“Everything comes from love”

Lillian Brock Flemming, a 1971 graduate of Furman University and one of the early African-American students at the school, was the speaker at the L.D. Johnson lecture on “What Really Matters?”

Flemming’s talk was part of Furman’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the university. Joseph Vaughn, a Greenville resident, was the first black student to attend Furman. Flemming was one of the first female African-American students on campus and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities earlier this year by Furman.

The events commemorating Furman’s desegregation tell the story of the university’s desegregation journey, said Maria Swearengen, assistant university chaplain. Introducing Flemming as an educator, activist and Greenville City Council member, Swearengen said that integration “is far from complete.”

Vaughn Crowetipton, associate vice president for spiritual life, said the lecture series honors L.D. Johnson, Furman chaplain from 1967 to 1981. Johnson helped the university grapple with many important issues, he said.

Flemming’s answer to “What Really Matters?” is love.

“Sometimes we go through life and never look to the left or the right,” she said. “What really matters is different for every person. I think I learned most of what really mattered from my mom and daddy.”

Citing First Corinthians 13, she said, “Everything comes from love.” She advised those in the audience to be their brothers’ keeper, even when some of those brothers present challenges.

People need to worry most about their ability to love, she said, because “it’s real clear that everything we have centers around love. What’s important in your life is not how long you live; it’s the dash” between your birth and death.

One result of love is a positive attitude, she said. “You don’t waste a day by being negative. What my dad said to me was ‘Don’t let other people make you a trash can.’  Love helps you be positive. It helps you treat other people better than some of them deserve to be treated.”

Being positive makes hope and happiness possible, she said.

“If you have no hope, you do perish,” she said. “If you have no hope, you have no future.”

She admitted that as a pioneer desegregating Furman, she and the other students faced challenges. But the answer to that is to talk and get to know others. She said that while on campus, a Ku Klux Klan official came to speak on campus. The African-American students decided to attend. But they didn’t have to say anything because white students on the front row “decimated” the man. They were not hearing his hateful speech.

She told students in the audience that they often spend too much time on electronic gadgets and don’t really talk to others.  Young people need to get to know each other, to know their middle names and what their favorite colors are.

Mentioning the media’s treatment of Richard Jewell, a security guard who was suggested as being involved in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta  and was later exonerated, she said he was accused without facts.

“That’s what our society has done because we don’t talk to each other,” she said. “We don’t get the facts. We don’t trust one another because we don’t talk. “

When we talk to others who are different from us, “we find out we have more in common than we don’t have in common. We find out we want the same things,” she said.

When asked how she remains positive on bad days, Flemming said, “I pray.”

She also said that diversity can be improved by giving information to everyone. People need to go into communities different from their own and create relationships and partnerships.  While at Furman, she talked with other black students and got to know them. But they also worked to get people who were not black to know that all black people are not alike. They enjoy different types of music; they have different beliefs; they look and dress differently.

Racism is still alive and well, she said, and some attitudes and actions have not changed much from the 1960s. But “What people think of you does not have to be true. It’s what you think about yourself.”

The major way of combating prejudice and discrimination is to “continue to talk. Don’t let stereotypes make you form judgments until you know somebody.” She also encouraged parents to model tolerance for their children and talk with them about how they would feel if intolerance were directed toward them.

“Most people don’t want to hurt others. Most people do care,” she said, adding they often say what the crowd is saying without thinking about it could affect others.

Note to FROGs from Coach Roberts


After a one-year hiatus, the alumni game is back on! As usual, the game will kick-off at 10 a.m. so I suggest you get to the pitch around 9 or so to warm up and get the old bones going. The team looks good this year, but I expect you can hang with them for awhile.

There are a few things you need to know about Saturday.

1) We will give you all jerseys and shorts to wear. Just find Turner, our captain, and he can set you up.

2) There are parking restrictions on Saturday. You will not be able to enter through the Timmons gate unless you have a pass. Simply enter through the front gate, park by the Chapel and walk up.

3) Because there was not a huge interest in the Friday night event, I am going to put it on hold this year.

4) Regretfully I will not be at the game. I am enrolled in a M.A. class and must be out of town this weekend for class. It is just a one-year deal, it won’t be an interference for future games.

5) Lastly, I know some of you make contributions at that the game. If you have a check, get it to Lawson Held, our president. We’ll get it deposited.


Richard Furman and James C. Furman digital collection now available

Furman special collectionFurman University Special Collections & Archives has launched its Richard Furman and James C. Furman digital collection. The collection features more than 700 letters and sermons from Richard Furman (the University’s namesake) and James C. Furman (the University’s first president). The collection may be viewed at this link.

Richard Furman (1755-1825)

The collection contains 163 letters and 9 sermons from Richard Furman (1755-1825), a clergyman considered the most important Baptist leader before the Civil War. Furman was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., and became the first president of the Triennial Convention, the first national body of Baptists in America. Under Furman’s urging, education was endorsed as a formal element of the denomination’s program, eventually resulting in the founding of Columbian College (modern-day George Washington University) in 1821. Furman was also elected the first president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1821. Furman University, the South’s first Baptist college, was posthumously named in his honor. The principal correspondents included in this digital collection include Oliver Hart, Charles Screven, Edmund Botsford, and Joseph B. Cook.

James Clement Furman (1809-1891)

The collection also contains 602 letters and 9 sermons from James Clement Furman (1809-1891). A son of Richard Furman, James C. Furman first joined the Furman faculty in 1845 and later became its first president in 1859, serving until 1879. Furman was instrumental in the institution’s move to Greenville in 1851. A leading voice among secessionists, Furman was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession in 1860. The university closed during the Civil War but reopened due to the perseverance of its president who would not abandon it. The letters in this digital collection reflect many of Furman University’s early struggles and triumphs.

For more information about the collection, please email digicenter@furman.edu, or contact Christy Allen, Assistant Director for Discovery Services, Furman University Libraries, at (864) 294-2258.

Furman Chorale and Singers to perform Oct. 28

chorales fall 2013 cropped

Furman Chorale

The Furman University Chorale and Furman Singers will present their fall concert Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. in Daniel Memorial Chapel on the Furman University campus.

The concert is free and open to the public, and is part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program.

Furman Singers

Furman Singers

Conducted by Furman music professors Dr. Vivian Hamilton and Dr. Hugh Floyd, the program includes a mix of sacred and traditional hymns and spirituals. The Furman Singers will also perform “Caritas” (Charity), a piece by Furman’s Dr. Mark Kilstofte and commissioned to celebrate 50 Years of Desegregation at the university.

Accompanying the choral groups are Furman sophomore Kevin Edens (organ) of Marietta, Furman’s Dr. Charles Tompkins (University Organist) and Furman junior Grace Odell (piano) of Pelzer.

For more information about the event, contact Furman’s Music Department at (864) 294-2086, or email the department at Furman.Music@Furman.edu.

Bridges to a Brighter Future hosts college admissions expert

Kevin C Hudson, croppedBridges to a Brighter Future Furman University will present a program for students and families who want a better understanding of the selective college admission and scholarship process Thursday, Nov. 6, 6-8 p.m., in the Kroc Center located at 424 Westfield Street in downtown Greenville.

Free and open to the public, “Admission Unveiled: Understanding Selective College Admission & Scholarship Programs,” features guest speaker Mr. Kevin C. Hudson, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Education Access Granted. He will be joined by panelists with expertise in the Gates Millennium Scholarship, summer programs, and school resources.

In addition to Bridges to a Brighter Future Furman University, other sponsors of the program include Urban League of the Upstate, Greenville County Schools, and the Kroc Center.

In “Admission Unveiled,” Hudson and panelists will address topics such as:

  • Being competitive for selective college admission and scholarships.
  • Participating in summer enrichment programs.
  • Presenting talents and passions during the application process.
  • Understanding the importance of academic performance and extracurricular involvement.

For more information about the program, contact Danielle Staggers, Assistant Director, Bridges to a Brighter Future Furman University, at danielle.staggers@furman.edu, or (864) 294-3176.

About Kevin C. Hudson
Kevin C. Hudson is committed to making college and career access and success a possibility for all students and conducts workshops throughout the United States and internationally. He most recently worked for District of Columbia Public Schools managing an effort that supported a college-going culture at all schools that prepares students for successful college matriculation and graduation. In addition to his previous role as Director of College Admission & Advising at a non-profit boarding school placement organization, he previously worked as an Admission Officer at Princeton University and as a Career Counselor on the Wharton Undergraduate Team in the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) Career Services Office.

A first-generation college student, Mr. Hudson earned a bachelor’s in sociology with certificates in African American Studies and American Studies from Princeton University. He earned his M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Management from University of Pennsylvania. Hudson presently serves as Co-chair of the Greater Washington, DC NACAC National Fair; on the College Board SAT Advisory Committee, Executive Board of the UPENN GSE Education Alumni Association, the New Jersey Scholars Program Board of Trustees (Lawrenceville School); and as a Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) reader. He is an active member of the Association of Black Admission and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy League and Sister Schools.