John S. Beckford
After 32 years as Furman's first full-time percussion instructor, John Beckford was appointed dean of the faculty in 2008 and later became vice president for academic affairs and dean.
As Furman’s chief academic officer, Beckford has the primary responsibility for administration and management of the academic program, including the hiring of all faculty and optimization of resource allocations and staffing within academic affairs. He earned his bachelor of music, master of fine arts, and doctor of musical arts degrees from the University of Iowa, where he studied percussion with Thomas L. Davis.
Prior to these appointments, Beckford headed all areas of percussion studies at Furman, taught music history, held state offices in the Percussive Arts Society, and was principal percussionist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra until 2006. Beckford served on 43 university committees and was chair of the faculty from 2005-2007. As faculty chair, he presided over the debates leading to the revision of the general education curriculum and the academic calendar, and crafted the organizational plan by which these changes were implemented.
Beckford continues to be an active performer as a member of the Greenville Symphony percussion section, performs with other organizations, and teaches the world music course at Furman.