Every new year, we rush to remember the previous 365 days. This one isn't any different. Our trusted news sources have rehashed the year in politics, entertainment and sports. Our social media accounts are filled with best and worst lists. And of course, we've shared our nine best on Instagram.
For us, it was an extraordinary year—the launch of The Furman Advantage, an unforgettable trip to Broadway, a new Southern dining experience on campus. However, these collective moments aren't simply memories for our purple-clad community.
They're the start of what's to come in 2017.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMY FLEMING ’08
For a few fleeting days in late January, our campus was blanketed in snow.
Martha Johns, the former First Lady of Furman University, received a surprise for her 90th birthday celebration. The Sigma Chi fraternity serenaded her with a rendition of "Happy Birthday."
For one evening, Furman athletics had the attention of the sports world. In the span of an hour, the Paladins scored fantastic finishes on the hardwood and diamond. Daniel Fowler scored a buzzer beater to lift the Furman men's basketball team to a 58-57 victory over Louisiana-Monroe in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Less than a mile away, Carter Grote smacked a walk-off homer against The College of Charleston to the rally the Paladins to a 9-7 win. Both plays were highlighted on ESPN's SportsCenter.
The Furman and Greenville community honored Greenville Police Officer Allen Jacobs, who was killed in the line of duty March 18. Funeral services were held in Timmons Arena.
Furman students celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival that marks the beginning of spring.
An annual tradition, Furman Engaged! celebrates the wide variety of undergraduate research, scholarship and creativity of our undergraduates. Launched by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships in 2009, this event brings our campus community and visitors together for a day of presentations, posters and performances across Furman's campus.
Furman played host to aspiring lawyers and judges at the Bell Tower National Championship Tournament. The three-day competition in April brought 48 college teams from across the nation to compete in the American Mock Trial Association's crowning event. Participating in the national championship for the 20th straight year, Furman finished in 11th place.
The final day of classes has traditionally marked the time members of the Furman family go their separate ways. Thanks to 'Dins Day, however, it carried a new meaning.
The university’s second annual spirit and pride campaign, which coincides with LDOC (Last Day of Classes, students’ on-campus celebration for the end of the school year), wrapped up with more than $1 million raised.
Furman awarded 598 undergraduate and master’s degrees and presented its top academic honors during graduation exercises. W. Randy Eaddy, a 1976 Furman graduate and longtime member of the university’s Board of Trustees, served as commencement speaker.
Valentina Romero '16 didn't intend to miss Furman’s Commencement, but she was a thousand miles away in Bryan, Texas, where she was helping the women’s golf team finish fourth in the NCAA regionals and advance to the national tournament for the first time since 2008. But what she missed was restored when she returned to campus. She took part in a special graduation ceremony held just for her and her family in the James B. Duke Library. Romero received her degree and a handshake from President Elizabeth Davis.
In April, Furman unveiled the Joe and Diana Hurley Finance and Business Analytics Lab, a 600-square-foot space equipped with dual-screen Bloomberg terminals, a stock ticker, several flat-panel displays flanking wood-paneled walls, and large atomic clocks showing times for major trading cities around the globe. The announcement was featured in New York's Times Square.
George C. Shields assumed his duties as Furman's new vice president for Academic Affairs and provost in July. As Furman’s chief academic officer, Shields is responsible for the faculty and related administrative departments that support all undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.
Brett Harker was named Furman's new head baseball coach in July. Harker, a Greenville native, spent two seasons as pitching coach at Furman, where he also served as recruiting coordinator for the Paladin program.
Furman welcomed the Class of 2020 into the Paladin family during orientation week in August. About 780 freshmen reported to campus.
The Asheville-based Tupelo Honey opened its first collegiate location in 2016—right on Furman's campus. The restaurant is known for its Southern comfort food.
Furman's Pauper Players staged Seussical in September. The musical production was produced entirely by Furman students.
On October 5, Furman launched an ambitious effort to transform the student experience and address critical community issues. The new strategic vision—called The Furman Advantage—guarantees every incoming student the opportunity for an engaged learning experience that is tracked and integrated with their academic and professional goals.
Launched with $47 million from The Duke Endowment, The Furman Advantage combines a liberal arts education with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers, and community benefit.
The American History Book Club & Forum and Upcountry History Museum-Furman University hosted New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks at The Poinsett Club in downtown Greenville.
The Council on Undergraduate Research named Furman a winner of the 2016 Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishment. Only three universities nationwide received the honor.
South Carolina Congressmen Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy, along with their Democratic challengers Thomas Dixon and Chris Fedalei, visited the Furman campus for a discussion that was designed to feature both civility and substance. And, for the better part of the evening, the Congressional candidates did just that. The discussion was moderated by Furman Political Science Professor Danielle Vinson.
In November, Furman launched a new institute dedicated to improving the health of the greater Greenville community. With support from its partnership with Greenville Health System, Furman’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health will allow students and faculty to be more strategically involved in the work of community organizations devoted to supporting healthier lifestyles.
Furman welcomed its alumni and friends back to campus for Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2016.
The Furman women's golf team climbed to No. 2 in GolfStat's collegiate rankings in November.
The Paladins, which placed 20th at the 2016 NCAA Championships after claiming their second-straight SoCon Championship last season, finished the fall ranked No. 5, trailing Stanford, Southern California, Florida State and Alabama.
Former Furman University President David E. Shi '73 and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi '92, made a $500,000 gift to the university that will provide additional financial support for students who are actively involved in the work of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. Furman has been widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability. The university received the 2016 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) “for outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.” AASHE has also awarded Furman a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements nationwide.
It was an unforgettable weekend for 16 Furman Singers who traveled to New York City to perform at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with Kristin Chenoweth in her one-woman show, My Love Letter to Broadway.
The Singers’ first appearance on Broadway was facilitated by Chenoweth’s music director and Furman alumna Mary-Mitchell Campbell ’96. Campbell led a two-hour rehearsal, a brief master class and Q&A at Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue. The students sang two numbers with Chenoweth, in the grand finales of both the first and second acts.
Since 2013, Furman has hosted the USA Rugby Men's Division II Final Four. This year, though, the Paladins were a participant. Furman knocked off three-time champion Minnesota-Duluth before falling in the finale to Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Clay Hendrix '86, a former Paladin offensive guard and assistant coach who spent the last decade as an assistant coach at the United States Air Force Academy, was introduced as Furman’s new head football coach in December.