Courtney Tollison Hartness: in praise of the public library

Courtney Tollison Hartness cropped featureDespite our dependence on the Internet for quick fact checking and other research, Furman History Professor Courtney Tollison Hartness, Ph.D., says brick-and-mortar libraries “deserve our unflagging support.” In a piece she wrote for Greenville Journal, Hartness offers a brief history of libraries in the United States including those in Greenville’s storied past. She reminisces about the importance of the public library in her formative years, and how relevant libraries continue to be.

Furman among five institutions to receive lectureship

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Furman University has been selected to receive a lectureship in the chemical sciences by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The university is one of five primarily undergraduate institutions to receive the award.

The 2015 Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship in the amount of $18,500 is a grant which funds the hosting of a leading researcher to give public and technical lectures in the chemical sciences, and supports two undergraduates in summer research.

“Since its inception in 2010, the Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship has provided funding for distinguished chemists to have extended visits at undergraduate institutions throughout the United States,” says Dr. Mark J. Cardillo, Executive Director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. “The award also supports undergraduate research as part of our continuing commitment to all aspects of chemistry education.”

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus, who directed that the foundation’s purpose be “to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world.” Jean Dreyfus Boissevain was President of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation from 1956 until her death in 1991.

Other institutions receiving the award are Albright College (Reading, Penn.), Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, Calif.), Washington and Jefferson College (Washington, Penn.), and Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.).

For more information about the program and The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, visit, or contact the Furman University News and Media Relations Office at (864) 294-3107.

Paintings by Sarah Nguyen on display

"Mother" by Sarah Nguyen

“Mother” by Sarah Nguyen

Paintings by Sarah Nguyen will be on display Aug. 28-Sept. 28 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 with the artist is slated for Friday, Sept. 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Roe Art Building.

Restless Shadows is comprised of paintings created using modern mediums and techniques. In a statement Nguyen says, “I render each subject then allow forces such as gravity, chemical interaction, and random chance to take over and dissolve the forms, reflecting the occasional dissolving of boundaries between dreams and waking life, and between self and other, that we experience when engaged in universal human activities such as play, ritual, and art.”

Nguyen lives and works in rural Missouri. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States including galleries in Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City and New York City.

She received her BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA in Painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She works as an art instructor at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.

For more information about the exhibition, contact the Furman University Department of Art, (864) 294-2074.


The Rabbit Revolution

Dr. Julian Reed

Dr. Julian Reed

The nearly 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail that runs from downtown Greenville through the Furman campus and on to Travelers Rest has been incredibly successful. The trail attracts more than a half million users each year, and runners, walkers and bikers alike use the trail for their exercise. Julian Reed, a health sciences professor at Furman, has studied the trail for several years and concluded that it’s contributed greatly to the health of the community. Reed was quoted in a story about the success of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in the fall 2015 issue of the national magazine Rails to Trails.

Leading the way

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Dr. Elizabeth Davis

A framed picture of an iconic campus scene has pride of place in the president’s hallway at Furman. On the white mat that surrounds the painting are hundreds of student signatures captured in the days before Elizabeth Davis’ inauguration. Dr. Davis sees this gift every time she arrives at her office door. “As I said in my inaugural address, students are a true source of joy for me,” she says. “After they gave this to me, we hung it in a prominent place to make it clear that I’m here for them and they are always welcome visitors in my office.” President Davis talked about her first year as Furman’s president in an interview for The Duke Endowment E-Newsletter.

Furman to hold fall convocation Sept. 3

convocationFurman University will celebrate the beginning of the 2015-16 school year with its fall convocation Thursday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. in McAlister Auditorium.

Furman president Elizabeth Davis will preside as the university welcomes the freshman class and presents a number of major honors and awards.

The public is invited to attend.

The convocation address, “Aspects of Transformation,” will be delivered by Dr. Scott Henderson, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Education at Furman.

Robert H. Buckman, who has served numerous terms on Furman’s Board of Trustees, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree during the ceremony.  He is the former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Bulab Holdings, Inc., the holding company of Buckman Laboratories.

The Rev. James Russell Dean II, a 1986 Furman graduate, will receive the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award.  He is co-pastor of Park Road Baptist Church in Charlotte with his wife, Amy.

The university will also recognize five members of the senior class who have been named Furman Fellows for the current academic year. They are Jordan Brown of Gastonia, N.C., Jennifer Duer of Sarasota, Fla., Samuel Hill of Richmond, Va., Jonathan Kubakundimana of Rwanda, and Kristen Marakoff of Fort Mill.

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

Furman awards 66 degrees at summer commencement

Read commencement speech by Dr. Quast

Dr. Lesley Quast

Dr. Lesley Quast

Lesley Quast, Professor of Education Emerita at Furman University, served as speaker when Furman held its summer commencement exercises earlier this month in Daniel Recital Hall.

The university awarded 66 undergraduate and graduate degrees during commencement.  Furman president Elizabeth Davis presided over the ceremony.

Quast, who joined Furman in 1976, retired from the faculty at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.  In addition to serving as an Assistant Academic Dean at the university, she was chair of the Education Department and Director of Teacher Education. She also served as the Director of Partnerships and Special Projects as well as National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Coordinator.

A graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Quast received her master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Ed. D. from the University of Alabama. She also spent one summer at the University of Salzburg studying German, and one year doing doctoral internships at the University of Virginia.

Quast has held international and state leadership positions in the Council for Exceptional Children. She was a charter executive committee member of the South Carolina Network for Educational renewal and served as the liaison between South Carolina and the National Network for Educational Renewal from 1991-2006.

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

Furman awards Heller Community Scholarships

max heller sized bwFurman University has awarded major scholarships to 14 graduates of Greenville County high schools for the 2015-16 academic year. The students are currently enrolled as freshmen at the university.

Established in fall 2012, the $20,000 scholarship is available yearly to one student at each of the 18 Greenville County high schools. This year, students from 14 of the 18 schools showed intent to attend Furman. Recipients for 2015-16 include students from 12 public high schools, one charter school, and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities. The goal of the scholarship is to encourage talented local students to remain in the area and strengthen their commitment to the Upstate.

The Heller Community Scholarship is named in honor of the late Max Heller, former mayor of Greenville and Furman trustee who was well known for his exemplary work in the Greenville community, and whose life was a monument to leadership, education, mentorship and a passion for learning.

The scholarships are awarded based on the recommendation of the student’s high school administration, commitment to attending Furman, and evidence of admissibility to Furman’s undergraduate program. The scholarships are renewable for four years provided the student remains in good academic standing with the university.

The recipients of the 2015-16 Max Heller Community Scholarships are:

Blue Ridge High School
Sarah Livingston
From Taylors, Ms. Livingston plans to study music at Furman. She is the daughter of Robert and Susan Livingston (29687).

Eastside High School
Finley Buchanan
A Greenville resident who will pursue art at Furman, Ms. Buchanan is the daughter of Furman and Kim Buchanan (29615).

Greenville High School
Sarah Moyd
Greenville resident Sarah Moyd is the daughter of Daniel and Telisa Moyd (29615). Ms. Moyd will study health sciences at Furman.

Greer High School
Harmony Thomas
From Greer, Ms. Thomas plans to major in education, and is the daughter of Clark and Nancy Thomas (29615).

Greer Middle College Charter High School
Mutaz Sarhan
Mr. Sarhan of Greer is the son of Mohammed Sarhan and Saeda Eid (29650). He will begin a pre-health track at Furman.

Hillcrest High School
Sean Allwurden
Fountain Inn resident Mr. Allwurden is the son of Klaus and Kathleen Allwurden (29644). He plans to study earth and environmental science.

JL Mann High School
Amal Momani
Ms. Momani, a Greer resident, is the daughter of Radi and Reem Momani (29650). She will pursue an education track at Furman.

Mauldin High School
Reed Horton
A Simpsonville resident who plans to major in education, Mr. Horton is the son of Anthony Horton and Tammy Goodlett (29681).

Riverside High School
Juhi Saxena
A resident of Simpsonville, Ms. Saxena will enter the pre-health program at Furman. She is the daughter of Drs. Naveen Saxena and Vinita Srivastava (29681).

Southside High School
Haley Brummett
Greenville resident Ms. Brummett is the daughter of Richard and Celeste Brummett (29605). Her academic focus will be health sciences.

Travelers Rest High School
Hezekiah Cooper
Mr. Cooper, a Greenville resident who plans to major in economics, is the son of Wyndel and Amanda Cooper (29611).

Wade Hampton High School
Elizabeth Garcia Ponte
Elizabeth Garcia Ponte of Greer is the daughter of Elbio Garcia and Alicia Ponte (29651). Ms. Garcia will study chemistry at Furman.

Woodmont High School
Abigail Emerson
Simpsonville resident Abigail Emerson is the daughter of John and Heidi Emerson (29680). Ms. Emerson plans to major in political science.

South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities
Rachel Cooke
Music student Rachel Cooke is a Greenville resident, and daughter of Gary and Barbara Cooke (29615).

For more information about the Max Heller Community Scholarship, contact Furman’s Office of Admission at (864) 294-2034.

How will Bernie Sanders do in South Carolina?

Dr. Danielle Vinson

Dr. Danielle Vinson

Over the weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders was in the key early primary state of South Carolina. He’s been drawing huge crowds around the country in his campaign for the Democratic nomination, but South Carolina could prove to be a big hurdle. Furman political science professor Danielle Vinson commented about just how big that challenge might be for Sanders as part of a piece on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”  Vinson calls Sanders an “odd choice” for South Carolina Democrats, who tend to be relatively conservative.

Furman announces new endowed professorships

Furman University announced this week that four faculty members have been appointed to endowed professorships at the university.

Two of the new professorships are lifetime appointments, while the other two are for limited terms.

“These outstanding professors were selected in recognition of their record of teaching, scholarship and service to Furman,” said Dr. John Beckford, Furman’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean. “The University is fortunate to have the support of generous donors who understand the value of a strong faculty and the resources needed to help in its development.”

Here are the new appointments:

  • Leslie Hicken was named the Charles Ezra Daniel Professor of Music, a lifetime appointment. Hicken joined the university in 1993 and earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University.
  • Joni Tevis was selected as the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature, a lifetime appointment. Tevis, an Associate Professor of English, joined the university in 2008 and received her Ph.D. from the University of Houston.
  • Lisa Knight, Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, was named the James B. Duke Professor of Asian Studies, a three-year appointment.  She joined the university in 2004 and earned her Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
  • Nathaniel Cook was selected as the Robert E. Hughes Associate Professor of Economics, a three-year appointment. Cook joined Furman in 2008 and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Gifts from donors and foundations support 24 endowed lifetime professorships and nine rotating (limited term) professorships at Furman.

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