Women’s Soccer vs. Wofford 10/9

2p.m., October 9, Stone Soccer Stadium. $3 Adults

Furman Theatre stages “Hair”

hair300reaching, sizedFurman University Theatre will present Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and music by Galt MacDermot, Oct. 15-17 and Oct. 21-24 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances are Oct. 17, 18 and 25 at 3 p.m. All performances take place in the Theatre Playhouse on campus.

Directed by theatre arts professor Maegan McNerney Azar, the musical is open to the public, and is part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors and $10 for students. Season tickets are also available. The production is intended for mature audiences.

A musical that tested theatre as a means for spurring social change, Hair sent Broadway reeling in the late 1960s and influenced a generation of composers and lyricists that followed.

The rock musical centers on a Tribe of rebellious hippies struggling to come to terms with love and war in a world run by their conservative parents. Nothing is off limits as the Tribe, led by Claude, Berger, and Sheila, challenge conventional attitudes against the Vietnam War, argue for the principles of freedom, and break down barriers of race and religion.

Audiences will recognize songs like “Let the Sunshine In,” “Age of Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and others that became anthems of the peace movement.

“But what distinguishes Hair from other recent shows about being young is the illusion it sustains of rawness and immediacy, an un-self-conscious sense of the most self-conscious chapter in a person’s life,” says Ben Brantley of the New York Times.

Furman freshman Patrick Fretwell of Columbia plays the role of Claude; Salvo Donzella, a junior from Greenville, plays Berger; and sophomore Courtney Dorn of Lyman plays Sheila.

Other cast members are Furman alumnus Daniel Hoilett (Class of 2015); Robert Fuson of Simpsonville, who will graduate this December; and seniors Erin Barnett of Marietta, Ga. and Lizzie Dockery of Dallas, Texas.

Carolyn Carrier-McClimon directs music, Dr. Grant Knox is vocal coach, alan bryson is technical director, Will Lowry is set and lighting designer, and Margaret Caterisano designs costumes.

For ticket information and reservations, call the Theatre Box Office at (864) 294-2125. Box Office opens Monday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m.


Furman education professor Henderson writes verse memoir

Scott Henderson, portraitDr. Scott Henderson, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Education, has written a verse memoir about desire, love and loss.

His book, Gin and Gardenias: A Memoir of Desire, Love, and Loss, is published by Fiction Addiction Publishing located in Greenville.

Henderson, a Furman faculty member since 1998, spent four years on the volume, which consists of 68 poems covering the years 1968-2015.

The book provides an overview of Henderson’s life, while also exploring the process of forming a social and spiritual identity in the contemporary South.

Henderson created the cover art and interior illustrations, which were inspired by the poems themselves.

Dr. Gil Allen, Furman Professor Emeritus of English, says Gin and Gardenias is a “remarkable book” that will “touch your heart and mind in equal measure.”

In addition to his faculty role in Furman’s Department of Education, Henderson is also Director of Program Development and Evaluation at Furman, as well as Director of National/International Scholarships. Prior to joining the university, he taught in the Chesapeake City, Va. schools and at Yamagata Women’s Junior College in Japan. His published scholarship includes books and articles about the history of American social policy and education.

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

SC Poetry exhibit now open at Duke Library

SC PoetryA new exhibit showcasing South Carolina poetry is open at Furman University’s James B. Duke Library, Special Collections and Archives through Jan. 15, 2016.

The exhibit, “Celebrating South Carolina Poetry: An Exhibition to Mark the Acquisition of The Ninety-Six Press Archive” is free and open to the public. The exhibit is available 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday in Special Collections and Archives.

An opening reception, sponsored by the Friends of the Furman University Libraries, will be held Thursday, Oct. 15, at 4 p.m. in the gallery on the library’s second floor. The public is invited to attend.

Furman English professors William Rogers and Gilbert Allen founded The Ninety-Six Press in 1991 to publish book-length works of poetry by South Carolina authors. In the Press’s 25-year history, it has published 21 works, including two best-selling anthologies of South Carolina poetry: 45/96: The Ninety-Six Sampler of South Carolina Poetry (1994) and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry (2005).

The Press has published the works of two South Carolina poet laureates, Bennie Lee Sinclair and current laureate, Marjory Wentworth. Before The Ninety-Six Press took up its mission, the last major anthology of South Carolina poetry was published in the 1930s.

In the summer of 2015, The Ninety-Six Press Archives, together with its stock of books and its accounts, were transferred to the Furman University Libraries, where it is part of the South Carolina Poetry Archives in Special Collections & Archives. The transfer agreement stipulates that the Libraries will “use the current and future assets of the Press for the benefit of South Carolina poetry and poets.” This exhibition marks that transfer and celebrates the Press’s impact in publishing South Carolina authors. Using the Press’s archives, it traces the editorial, design, and outreach work of Allen and Rogers as well as that of the Press’s many authors.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Makala, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist at (864) 294-2714 or jeffrey.makala@furman.edu.


‘A Glimpse of the Sacred’

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States last week drew massive crowds and created a huge amount of media interest. To understand more about the impact of that visit, the Furman News and Media Relations office asked Furman religion professor Helen Lee Turner to reflect on the pope’s trip to America and what it accomplished.

Dr. Helen Lee Turner

Dr. Helen Lee Turner

Dr. Turner is the Reuben B. Pitts Professor of Religion and serves as chair of the department. She teaches courses in Judaism, Catholicism and American Religion, and her research interests include The Hopi and their religious world view as well as President Jimmy Carter’s Baptist heritage and its influence on his politics. A graduate of Wake Forest University, she holds M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Vanderbilt Divinity School and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Why is Pope Francis such a popular figure?

Dr. Turner: In addition to holding the most universally recognized and honored office in the world, Pope Francis has many—and very rare—human qualities that are attractive to all of us, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Warmth radiates from him.  His demeanor allows us to feel, even from a great distance, the genuineness of his love and respect for all people.  As he walks up the steps of the airplane carrying his own small suitcase, we are aware of his humility.  And even after a long, tiring day, he is smiling and obviously deeply content.  He is charismatic in the most profound sense of that word.

Despite non-stop media coverage, audiences could not seem to get enough, and the press remained amazingly respectful.  The spectacle made even adamant Protestants and hardened atheists take notice.  And no matter how we describe it, many of us experience in him a glimpse of the sacred.  He lives out his title, “Holy Father,” and our world longs for such encounters.

The attention Pope Francis received in Washington was especially notable.  The President seldom receives even visiting heads of state at the airport, but the Obama family was there.  The last 11 presidents have met a pope, but before Eisenhower, only Woodrow Wilson had done that.  In fact, in the nineteenth century anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S. was so strong even greeting a pope would have been virtually unthinkable.  Catholic opposition to Communism in the mid-twentieth century finally eased hostility enough to allow John Kennedy to be elected as our only Catholic President.

How is Pope Francis different from other popes who have come before him? 

Dr. Turner: There are some obvious things that really do matter.  Pope Francis is the first South American pope and he thus represents the changing center of not only Catholicism but also Christianity in general; as Europe and America become more secular, Christianity is thriving in the southern

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

hemisphere.  He is also the first Jesuit to hold that office.  The Jesuits are a religious order known for their missionary efforts and scholarly pursuits that have led them to found prestigious universities.  They have often lived on the geographical “frontier” and their thinking has at times put them on the intellectual fringes.  But while Pope Francis’ statements in Washington and elsewhere probably pleased Democrats more than Republicans, he is not likely to be a revolutionary pope in terms of doctrine or the current hot-button issues related to gender and sexuality.

Certainly he is viewed as more welcoming and less rule-oriented than other recent popes, but one should not extend that to modern American definitions of individual fulfillment as the ultimate good.  When asked about their impressions of Pope Francis, one of my students said, “He just wants people to be happy.”  Yes and no.  This pope appreciates good things that come his way—a tasty pizza, a child’s smile, and a good joke—but he clearly distinguishes those things from the most important gift, which is the joy that grows out of experiencing God’s mercy and love.  Joy can be experienced even in the midst of pain and loss; it has far more to do with spiritual depth than fleeting happiness.

Francis has proclaimed this a Jubilee Year of Mercy, a time, when among other things, any priest can offer forgiveness for abortions, and divorced Catholics will find it easier to receive an annulment.  The focus is on healing these and all sins that separate people from the love of God.  Mercy is what really unlocks conversion, says Francis.

Pope Francis has consistently cited the importance of addressing global poverty, confronting climate change, welcoming immigrants and providing a welcoming church.  Is his message likely to influence the future of Christianity in America and around the world?

Dr. Turner: After he had been elected the 266th pope, the first words spoken to Cardinal Bergoglio came from a friend who said, “Remember the poor.”  St. Francis of Assisi, whose name the new pontiff took, transcends the Catholic Church and is loved worldwide as a man who reached out for simplicity in his care for the poor, the infirmed, and all creation.

If we are converted through God’s mercy, we will find joy in showing mercy and love to others.  Joy comes especially through sacrificial compassion for the world’s most vulnerable people.  To his “brothers and sisters” in a homeless shelter, Pope Francis said, “To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete.  It means seeing in you, the homeless, the face of the Lord to be served.”  Care for the environment, too, is not only important because it is necessary for OUR survival but because it is a reflection of God’s glory and because disrespect for the environment affects the poor disproportionately.

As Pope Francis himself has noted, the “tyranny of unfettered capitalism” works against the simple life of love that he advocates.  But it clear that this man with the gentle smile has a quiet but powerful influence.  Perhaps we would be wise to do as he often requested of people he met on his U.S. visit—pray for him.

Aloha ‘Aina: for the love of the land


Lush tropical greenery, beautiful beaches and waterfalls, spectacular sunsets.

While she spent part of her summer sailing through Hawaii, Kelsey Orr ’17 wasn’t on a leisure trip. Her 12-hour days as a student and rookie sailor were often spent cleaning, line hauling, and collecting water samples aboard a 134-foot-long sailing ship for her team’s research project.

Orr, a political science and Asian studies major from Winston-Salem, N.C., was one of 18 undergraduate students from across the country who spent over a month exploring Hawaii as part of a summer semester program offered by the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Mass., and Hawaii Pacific University.

The program, “Aloha ‘Aina: People and Nature in the Hawaiian Islands,” focused on the Hawaiian peoples’ deep respect, understanding and love for the land. The hands-on program partnered students with community leaders, ocean resource managers, and coastal stakeholders as they work together toward the goal of preserving marine environments. The program paired traditional Hawaiian values and practices with contemporary science and ecosystem management, according to the SEA.

Orr began her trip on the campus of Hawaii Pacific University, where she and other students were tasked with reviewing the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s draft management plan.  The sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaii.

Orr’s assignment focused on the island of Lana’i and a proposal to create a windmill farm to generate energy for the island of Maui. She reviewed comments submitted by community members during public forums and talked to residents personally about their opinions and concerns to assist in generating a public policy statement for the sanctuary. Their findings were shared with environmental lawyers and sanctuary administrators.

“It’s amazing that we were able to come up with something that could actually be used and have an impact,” Orr said.

Her adventure continued aboard the Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Robert C. Seamans for 10 days of travel throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. She received an introduction to the basics of oceanography and was trained on technology in the ship’s laboratories.kelsey1

She learned the basics of steering, adjusting the sails and navigating the ship the old-fashioned way, plotting points on a map, using the stars and mathematical calculations.

“I had to hit the ground running and jump right in,” she said.

With many of their field trips on the islands, Orr also enjoyed service projects, such as catching and counting mullet fish and tending to oysters getting ready to be harvested on the island of Moloka’i. And of course, they saved time to visit some of the islands’ beautiful beaches.

“It’s not just a vacation destination in my mind anymore,” Orr said. “I’m happy that I was able to meet such a variety of people, because I now have a much better understanding of the culture. I definitely did not get the traditional tourist view of Hawaii.”

What a Coincidence!

Fall 2015 High Noon Schedule

What are the odds of two people in a room of 23 having the same birthday?  You may say not likely, but the math says it’s better than 50 percent.  Add another 52 people to the equation and the odds rise to 99.9 percent.

Dr. John Harris

Dr. John Harris

Furman University math professor John Harris will explain why that is so and talk about other amazing coincidences that may not be so coincidental when he speaks at the university’s High Noon fall lecture series Wednesday, Oct. 7 at noon at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman.

The lecture, “What a Coincidence!,” is free and open to the public.

In addition to working with colleagues and students on research projects in graph theory and sports analytics, Dr. Harris has co-authored articles for the Huffington Post and helped create various sports ranking systems for ESPN the Magazine.  A graduate of Furman who holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Emory University, he joined the faculty in 2000.

Harris’ talk is the second of seven 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 864-294-3107 or vince.moore@furman.edu.

Furman graduate, former faculty member, author remembered in Huffington Post

Photo by Courtney Perry

Photo by Courtney Perry

After reeling off the many accomplishments of 1961 Furman University graduate (master’s) and former Furman faculty member (1960-62) Phyllis Tickle, author Jack Levison shares a remembrance on a more personal level. Tickle, founding editor of Publishers Weekly religion department and author of dozens of books, died Sept. 22 at her home near Memphis, Tenn. after a short battle with cancer. Read more in Levison’s tribute to Tickle, which appeared in the Huffington Post.

Tenor Kyle Jones keeps many plates spinning

Photo by Peter Hemmer

Photo by Peter Hemmer

As director of music and worship arts and organist for Eastminster Presbyterian Church (Indialantic, Fla.), lyric tenor and 2001 Furman graduate Kyle Jones has a full plate. Outside of his role at Eastminster, however, the music major is interim artistic director for the Indialantic Chamber Singers, the chorus master for Space Coast Symphony and Riverside Chamber Choruses, and co-founder of the Space Coast Choral Alliance. Read more in a Florida Today interview.

Educational partnership helps open doors

elizabeth-davis-townThe Greenville region is blessed with an abundance of educational institutions offering a broad array of opportunities, and Greenville Technical College and Furman have enjoyed a longstanding partnership that is a model for collaboration and educational advancement. In an op-ed for The Greenville News, Furman president Elizabeth Davis and Greenville Tech president Keith Miller explain how that partnership is moving to another level.