Library exhibition explores post-WWII Furman

Post WWII Library Exhibition poster, sizedA new exhibition about post-World War II student life at Furman is now open on the second floor gallery of Furman University’s James B. Duke Library through May 31.

The exhibition, “A Return to Normalcy? Growing Pains, Furmanville, and Life at Post-World War II Furman,” is free and open to the public. Duke Library gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

An opening reception, sponsored by the Friends of the Furman University Libraries, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. in the gallery. The public is invited to attend.

After the United States entered the war in 1941, American colleges and universities experienced a drastic decrease in student attendance. After the war, colleges everywhere began to experience a massive influx of students. The G.I. Bill, created in 1944, provided tuition for veterans wanting to attend college. All across America, veterans took advantage of these new opportunities, and universities made rapid changes to accommodate these new challenges.

At Furman, the most immediate challenge was a lack of space. There were simply not enough dormitories to house returning students and newly-accepted veterans. To solve this problem, older barracks were purchased from the government and used to house incoming veterans. For soldiers who came back to the states with wives and, in some cases, budding families, a trailer park, affectionately named “Vetville” and later “Furmanville,” was created on Graham Field at the edge of campus. Shortly after being established, Vetville was transformed into a comfortable neighborhood by its residents.

On campus, many people noticed the new spirit brought about by the returning soldiers. Grateful to put the war behind them, soldiers were noted to take their studies seriously. In addition to a serious attitude, veteran students brought back with them a newfound lust for life. After spending so many years face to face with the atrocities of war, veterans wanted to take time to enjoy all that they had been fighting for. Post-WWII Furman could not return to prewar ‘normalcy,’ but it did propel the university into the future.

The exhibition was curated by Furman history major Tyler Edmond (Class of 2017) with assistance from Professor Courtney Tollison (Class of 1999) and Jeffrey Makala, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist, as part of Edmond’s internship project in Special Collections and Archives for her Fall 2015 Public and Local History Studies class.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Makala (864) 294-2714, or

Women’s basketball vs Wofford 2/13

2 p.m., February 13, Timmons Arena.

Understanding the origins of race relations


Because the topic of race relations has been part of an ongoing conversation in the U.S. for more than 150 years, we often forget its origins.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, faculty from Communication Studies, English, and Sociology engaged with students and community members in a panel discussion, “Forgetting Race: Reconstruction 150.”

The panel explored the origins of race relations in America since the Reconstruction Era; the rhetoric, ideology, and social construction of race; and racism in the prison system.

Brandon Inabinet, Ph.D, associate professor of communication studies provided insight into the ways of interpreting the effects and the aftermath of Reconstruction.

“Reconstruction is debated among historians but is mostly seen as the necessary thing after the Civil War by our current viewpoints,” Inabinet said. “You have to do something to try to guarantee African Americans some kind of rights.”

However, not all viewpoints are that simple. Inabinet explained that the Dunning School of Thought blames the failures of Reconstruction on the radicalness of it and the “vengeance” of the northern radical Republicans against the southern Confederates. This school of thought claims that the radicalness of the proposed laws to grant rights to African Americans eventually led to the instatement of the Jim Crow laws.

Communication studies professor Cynthia King, Ph.D, elaborated on how society’s view of slavery according to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article remains unchanged due to the assumption that slavery would have been resolved eventually and slavery’s horrors aren’t taught in class. Additionally, King points out that in his article, Coates is encouraging more conversation about the subject to better understand its origins.

In terms of the modern day implications of race, English professor Laura Morris, Ph.D, discussed incarceration rates and how public views on race are perpetuated “by a long history of prejudice and inequality.”

So what can we do about our 150-year-old missteps? Sociology professor Claire Whitlinger, Ph.D., suggested symbolic and financial reparation to the groups involved citing the example of the government’s financial compensation of victims of Japanese internment camps during World War II and the Tulsa, OK, race riots.

“Clearly, there is precedent in this country for providing financial compensation to victims of survivors of systematic, often state sponsored racial violence,” said Whitlinger referencing the Senate’s series of formal apologies in recent years for fundamental issues such as slavery.

However, Whitlinger stressed that symbolic reparation alone isn’t enough to make up for the damages. “We need to do a better job of understanding the consequences of symbolic reparations such as commemorations and memorials, and under what circumstances we need to broaden social change.”


CLP-FU Jazz Ensemble Winter Concert 2/12

8 p.m., February 12, Daniel Recital Hall. Tickets: $5 adult / $3 student—at the door

From Iowa to New Hampshire: Professor Guth Looks at 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 U.S. presidential race came a little more into focus this week as the Iowa caucuses took place on Monday and the candidates prepared for the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9.

Donald Trump (image courtesy of

Republican candidate Donald Trump (image courtesy of

Furman political science professor Jim Guth has spent more than 40 years analyzing the political landscape in America, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top political analysts along the way. He has commented on American politics for CNN, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, All Things Considered, CBS Sunday Morning, the BBC and many other media outlets. He is the author of several books, including “Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration,” which he co-authored with fellow professor Brent Nelsen.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, Dr. Guth is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Furman.  He agreed to answer a few questions about the presidential race and what the immediate future might hold for the candidates.

Dr. Jim Guth has taught political science at Furman since 1973.

Dr. Jim Guth has taught political science at Furman since 1973.

Q:  In your opinion, who were the winners and losers in Monday’s Iowa caucuses?

Guth: The real impact was on the Republican side, where Donald Trump’s high poll ratings did not translate into actual support at the caucuses. Senator Cruz, on the other hand, showed that his organization in Iowa was every bit as extensive and motivated as press reports had suggested. But the big winner was Marco Rubio, who came in very close behind Trump, despite spending much less time in the state and having much less organization than Cruz. His media blitz in the last days apparently convinced a lot of “regular” Republicans than he was the best alternative to Trump and Cruz.

On the Democratic side, both candidates could claim a kind of victory. Mrs. Clinton narrowly avoided what would have been an embarrassing defeat in a state in which she had invested a lot of time, money and organization. Senator Sanders showed that his appeal to more liberal and younger Democrats was real and almost enough to take first place, but he didn’t mobilize quite enough new participants to overcome Clinton’s appeal to party regulars.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (image courtesy of

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (image courtesy of

Q:  Historically, how important are the Iowa caucuses to a candidate’s presidential aspirations going forward?  Is it possible for a candidate to have a poor showing in Iowa and still become the party’s nominee?

Guth:  It varies by party. On the Republican side the Iowa caucuses have a pretty poor track record for “picking” the GOP nominee, and an even poorer one for picking nominees who win the presidency. On the Democratic side, Iowa has been a better predictor, but not a perfect one. Since the advent of the modern Iowa caucuses in 1976, many losers in Iowa have gone on to win their party’s nomination. A victory in Iowa can help sustain a less-prominent candidate for a time by attracting some additional media attention and campaign funds, but eventually that candidate has to demonstrate broader national appeal.

Q:  The Iowa caucuses have been called “perhaps the most important yet mysterious contest in American politics.”  What makes the caucuses unique?

Guth:  Caucuses are really just old-style party meetings adapted to modern purposes. Unlike a primary election, a caucus is an actual business meeting of precinct (and later, higher level) party organizations. Thus, a voter has to make a considerable time commitment to participate, a factor that usually weeds out those less interested in politics. Although the Iowa Republican party caucuses simply tally the presidential preference votes of attendees in a secret ballot, the Democratic party requires participants to make open commitments and encourages “politicking” and persuasion among supporters of the candidates (thus, Democratic caucuses usually take longer than GOP meetings). Both parties use the results of the presidential polls to select delegates to higher jurisdiction party committees, where the process is repeated all the way to the selection of national party delegates at state conventions. Compared to primary elections, caucuses attract fewer voters, tend to draw the most ideologically committed, and give an advantage to candidates with the best organization.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz (image by

Republican candidate Ted Cruz (image by

Q: How are the results of the Iowa caucuses likely to affect next week’s New Hampshire primary?

Guth:  The Democratic results will give a little boost to Senator Sanders, who already leads in his neighboring state. The political terrain gets tougher for him after that, as the primaries move to states with more minorities and centrist Democrats, groups that tend to favor Mrs. Clinton. A really strong showing, however, might cause some of these constituencies to reconsider and shift support to Sanders. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, needs to keep it close (or better yet, pull out a surprise victory) to avoid that happening.

On the GOP side, another second or third-place finish for Trump might trigger his long-expected but much delayed disappearance from the top ranks of GOP contenders. Ted Cruz needs to demonstrate appeal beyond his core vote of religious conservatives and extreme Tea Partiers. New Hampshire is not a good “fit” for Cruz, but represents a section of the party that he will eventually have to appease. Rubio perhaps has the most at stake, hoping to consolidate a position as the GOP “establishment” alternative, in a state where his rivals for that status, such as Chris Christie, John Kasich and Jeb Bush have spent a lot more time.

Film “Raise the Roof” depicts reconstruction of lost synagogue

Photograph by Cary Wolinsky, Trillium Studios, Copyright 2014 Cary Wolinsky

Photograph by Cary Wolinsky, Trillium Studios
Copyright 2014 Cary Wolinsky

The Furman University Department of Art will screen the documentary “Raise the Roof,” Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in Burgiss Theatre of the Trone Student Center on campus.

The screening and discussion following are free and open to the public. Optional donations may be made to the event sponsor, FUART, Furman’s student-led art club.

“Raise the Roof” is a film by Yari and Cary Wolinsky about reconstructing the central room of the Gwoździec synagogue (Sanok, Poland), which was destroyed during the Nazi invasion in 1941. The screening will be followed by a brief discussion from artists Rick and Laura Brown, who led the project.

Rivaling the greatest wooden architecture in history, the synagogues of 18th-century Poland inspired Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio to embark on a 10-year pursuit to reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of the Gwoździec synagogue.

Both art professors at Massachusetts College of Art and members of the Timber Framers Guild, the Browns led more than 300 students and professionals from 16 countries in the reconstruction. The documentary shows the Browns grappling not only with the echoes of World War II when dozens of these buildings were destroyed by the Nazis, but also with warped timbers, tricky paints, and period hand tools. By the end of the project, the artisans and students do more than reconstruct a lost synagogue, they recover a lost world.

In 2014, the Gwoździec roof was unveiled as the centerpiece of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The documentary is distributed by The National Center for Jewish Film. More information about the project may be found here.

Reservations for the screening by the public may be made by emailing Marta Lanier in the art department,, or call (864) 294-2074.

The business of fun


Sophomore Fellows from Furman’s Shucker Leadership Institute (SLI) spent fall break in Orlando, Fla., hopscotching through four of the finest amusement parks on Earth, but this time, Disney offered more than magic and thrill rides.

The trip took advantage of Disney’s Youth Education Series and was a first for the Shucker Fellows, replacing a five-day Outward Bound Wilderness Leadership program that had been part of the SLI curriculum for years.

“I’ve never been to Disney World, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn some cool things along the way,” Tucker Erdmann ’18, a business and Chinese double-major, said, and he was far from alone—only a handful of the 25 Sophomore Fellows weren’t in attendance for a program that gave them an up-close look at the business model of one of the most successful corporations in the world.

The seminars focused on leadership strategies, creativity, and teamwork, with a goal of creating a brand that resonates with customers and employees alike.exec

Erdmann was particularly impressed by a talk given by a Disney executive who had left a higher-paying position to return to the company that had given him one of his first jobs.

“(He said) coming into an organization and a leadership position from the outside, the most important thing you can do first is take time to observe before you step in and start making changes,” he said. “When our group discussed this later, we realized that’s exactly what Dr. (Elizabeth) Davis did in her first year as Furman’s President.”

Chandler Smith ’18 had high hopes when he signed up, and Furman’s sophomore class president wasn’t disappointed.

“I was excited to see what types of programming they would have for us, because Disney is always top notch in anything they do,” he said. “The Disney Experience was hands-on, they told us, ‘this is a leadership strategy, and this is what that looks like in our business.’”

The Shucker Fellows also had time to reconnect after spending so much time together as New Fellows when they were freshmen.

“Coming into this year we only meet twice a month or so, and students have found their niche on other parts of campus,” Lexie Harvey ’18, a communication studies and political science major, said. “It’s fun to come back as a Shucker group.”table

On the final night, Fellows were treated to an Orlando Area Alumni Networking Event hosted by John Rife ’98 at his East End Market, “a neighborhood market and culinary food hub inspired by Central Florida’s local farmers and food artisans.” The Shucker Center and the Furman Alumni Office co-sponsored the event.

“Kim Keefer reached out to me and said, ‘how can we coordinate some sort of alumni event around that?’” Sarrin Warfied ’03, Furman’s assistant director of alumni programs, said. “It was really a win-win for both of our offices as we continue to develop our programming and create more opportunities for networking and mentoring for our students.”

Smith, a business administration/German studies double major from Roswell, Ga., called the gathering the highlight of his weekend. But those rollercoasters were pretty fun too.

“I think we managed to do all of them. That’s what it felt like,” he said. “I’ve only been to Disney once before, and I’m a Disney freak by no means. But all of my friends who went on the trip were, and they were literally sprinting from ride to ride, so we were exhausted by the end of the day.”

But one troubling concern emerged from student evaluations of the Disney Leadership Experience:

Three days wasn’t enough time for everyone to get to eat with Dr. Harry Shucker, Furman’s beloved, retired vice president for student services who also attended the trip.

“I got to have supper with them, I got to do a lot of informal things with them, and I got to know them on a much deeper level. And they got to know me,” Shucker said.

harryHarry Shucker was right there with them—with one exception. He drew the line at a 199-foot free fall.

“They were nice enough to take the old guy along … but whereas I’m more into Pirates of the Caribbean they’re more into like, the Tower of Terror,” he said with a chuckle. “I didn’t do that one.”

Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble in concert Feb. 19

Dr. Cecilia Kang

Dr. Cecilia Kang

The Furman University Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will present a concert Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on the Furman campus.

Conducted by Director of Bands Leslie W. Hicken, and Director of Athletic Bands Jay Bocook, “Black Dog” is open to the public. Part of the Furman Sound Quality Concert Series, the program features Furman faculty member and clarinetist Cecilia Kang. Tickets for the Furman Cultural Life Program event are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students.

The program includes compositions by John Philip Sousa, Norman Dello Joio, Bruce Yurko, Arturo Marquez, Jay Bocook, William Schuman, Scott McAllister, and David R. Gillingham.

Clarinetist Cecilia Kang, D.M.A., joined the Furman faculty in fall 2015. She previously held teaching positions at North Dakota State University and Concordia University (Mich.). During the summers, she has served as clarinet artist faculty at Grumo Music Festival in Italy, Luzerne Music Center (N.Y.) and Bay View Music Festival (Mich.).

Dr. Kang has collaborated with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Danish Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has also appeared at Thy Chamber Music Festival (Denmark), IMPULS Contemporary Music Festival (Austria), Castleton Festival (United States), Banff Centre (Canada), International Clarinet and Saxophone Festival (China), and International Clarinet Association’s 2014 ClarinetFest.

She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan, a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto. Cecilia Kang is a Vandoren and Buffet Crampon Artist.

For more information, contact the Furman Band Office at (864) 294-3069. Tickets may be purchased online. For more information about Dr. Kang, please visit