Furman's administrative operations are managed under the leadership of seven senior administrators. Covering everything from athletics and student housing to admission and the university's budget, these administrations help execute Furman's strategic plan and goals.
Mike Buddie became the Athletics Director in 2015, taking over a Division I program that sponsors 20 varsity teams.
Prior to his arrival in Greenville, Buddie was the Senior Associate Athletic Director at his alma mater, Wake Forest. During his tenure at Wake Forest, he supervised men's and women's golf, women's soccer, baseball, strategic communications, capital projects, sports performance and many other areas. His leadership opportunities included being a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee and the ACC Women's Basketball Committee as well as serving as chair of the ACC Baseball Committee.
Buddie attended Wake Forest on a baseball scholarship following a standout high school career at St. Ignatius in Cleveland, Ohio. While at Wake Forest, Buddie set the single season record for strikeouts. After three seasons at Wake Forest, Buddie was selected in the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees and decided to become a professional. He spent the next 13 seasons in professional baseball, reaching the majors with the New York Yankees (1998-99) and Milwaukee Brewers (2000-2002). He retired in 2003 following elbow surgery.
Buddie returned to Wake Forest to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications in 2004, and then pursued a career in collegiate athletics.
Mike and his wife, Traci, have two children, Zachary and Zoe.
To learn more, visit the Athletics website.
Vice President for Student Life
Connie Carson, vice president for student life, joined
the university in 2008. She previously served as assistant vice
president of campus services and planning at Wake Forest University.
During her tenure at Wake Forest, Carson served as the associate director of residence life and housing and executive director of residential services. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Carson holds a master of education degree from North Carolina State and a master of business administration from Wake Forest.
To learn more, visit the division of student life website.
Vice President for University Communications
Evelyn joined Furman as Vice President for University Communications in August 2016. As chief communications officer, he is responsible for the University’s various
communications platforms as well as envisioning the message and strategic positioning for Furman.
Before coming to Furman, Evelyn spent two years as Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing at the University of Florida. His higher education experience includes serving as Vice President for Communications at St. Lawrence University, where he was responsible for all communications and marketing for the university and the management of its National Public Radio affiliate, North Country Public Radio (WSLU-FM). He previously served as Senior Director of News and Media Relations at Bucknell University and Interim Assistant Vice President and Associate Director of News and Information at the University of Central Florida.
Before joining the higher education community, Evelyn spent 10 years working as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Florida and Georgia. He also served as a cryptologist in the U.S. Navy while stationed in Spain and aboard ships on mission in the Mediterranean Sea.
Evelyn graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a philosophy minor and earned a master’s degree in communication from the University of Central Florida, where he also guest lectured in journalism and public relations. He and his wife, Melissa, have two children, Cooper and Delilah.
To learn more, visit the University Communications website.
Vice President for Development
Mike Gatchell, vice president for development, joined the university in 2006 as executive director of development, and became vice president in 2007. He previously served as director of the alumni association and director of major gifts at Furman from 1996 to 1999, followed by five years as senior account manager at Blackbaud, Inc., where he was a consultant for numerous fundraising organizations.
Gatchell earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Furman in 1991 and a master of business administration from Clemson University. Mike and his wife, Heather, have two children, Griffin and Eli.
To learn more, visit the Development website.
Meredith E. Green ’05 joined Furman University as general counsel in October 2017. Green came to Furman from the firm of McGuireWoods LLP in Charlotte, where she practiced primarily in the area of higher education law. In her previous role, Green regularly counseled clients on issues related to Title IX and sexual misconduct, FERPA and other privacy and confidentiality laws and standards. She was also part of a team that taught the Higher Education Practicum at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Green co-authored “The Impact of the May 2013 Montana ‘Blueprint’ on the Sexual Harassment-Related Obligations of Colleges and Universities,” published by the National Association of College and University Attorneys. For three consecutive years (2015-17), Green was named a “North Carolina Rising Star” by Super Lawyers (Thompson Reuters). In 2012, she received the McGuireWoods Firmwide Pro Bono Award.
Green majored in psychology and French at Furman, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2010, where she was executive editor of the Wake Forest Law Review and member of the law honor society Order of the Coif. Her husband, Josh Green, also graduated from Furman in 2005 and is a partner at McGuireWoods.
They have two young boys, Dayton and Jack.
W. Michael Hendricks
Vice President for Enrollment Management
W. Michael Hendricks, vice president for enrollment management, joined the University in 2015.
Dr. Hendricks brings more than two decades of sustained achievement, and a professional commitment to advancing the practices and collaborative nature of the enrollment management profession to Furman University.
Prior to joining the University, he served as vice president for enrollment management at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was also the Dean of Admissions at Widener University in Chester, P.A., and held various positions in enrollment management areas at Fairleigh Dickinson University in N.J., where he also served as an assistant football coach.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Lehigh University, a master of arts in teaching from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a doctorate in education from Widener University. Several of his scholarly articles have been published in various enrollment management and admissions journals.
Mike and his wife Christina have three children, Shea, Cecilia, and Wilson. They reside in Travelers Rest, S.C.
Chief Diversity Officer
Michael E. Jennings is Furman University’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer. He joined Furman in July 2017 after a 13-year career at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he served as both a faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and as Associate Dean in the College of Education & Human Development.
Prior to that, Jennings held positions at several universities, including the Catholic University of America, Johns Hopkins University and Tufts University. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University as well as a master’s and doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As Furman’s Chief Diversity Officer, Jennings facilitates the support of structures that advance diversity and equity within campus units while collaborating across campus and with surrounding communities. In addition, Jennings serves as a tenured full professor in the Department of Education at Furman, where his research focuses on cultural and racial diversity in education.
Mary Lou Merkt
Vice President of Finance and Administration
Mary Lou Merkt, vice president for finance and administration, came to Furman in 2003 from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where she served as vice president for finance and administration. She began her career in higher education at her alma mater, Radford University (Va.), serving as director of internal audit, director of financial services, and later, assistant vice president for finance.
Merkt is a certified public accountant and holds both a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master of business administration degree. She is past president of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) and chair-elect of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).
She and her husband, Bill, have one son, Christian.
To learn more, visit the Finance and Administration website.
Dean of Faculty
Kenneth D. Peterson is the Dean of Faculty and the John D. Hollingsworth, Jr., Professor of Economics. He joined the Furman economics faculty in 1990 and chaired the department for twelve years. As Dean of Faculty he is responsible for the faculty, academic departments, interdisciplinary minors, and the units that support all undergraduate programs. His teaching interests include microeconomic theory, urban economics, population economics, environmental economics, and research methods in economics. He is particularly fond of introducing students to economic ideas in the introduction to economics course.
An outstanding teacher and mentor, Professor Peterson was the recipient of the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching. His research interests have been in the areas of hedonic house pricing, parking policies and environmental impacts, and social capital. Professor Peterson has also supervised numerous undergraduate research projects through the Economics Department’s summer research program.
He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his B.S. in economics from Iowa State University. His research examines the extent to which property values are affected by environmental and neighborhood traits, the causes and consequences of varying social capital levels within neighborhoods, the economics of higher education, and the economics of college athletics. A graduate of Leadership Greenville Class XXI, he resides in Greenville with his wife, Chirinjev.
Chief of Staff, Liaison to the Board of Trustees
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Liz Seman has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, since 1999. Her nonprofit career has included leadership roles with the American Red Cross, Hands on Greenville and Meals on Wheels. She came to Furman University in 2013 as the Executive Director of Corporate Engagement, and currently serves as Chief of Staff and Liaison to the Board of Trustees.
Seman is chair of the board of directors of the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (SC-TAC) and immediate past-chair of Meals on Wheels America. She is an active member of the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum and Greenville Women Giving. She is also a member of the Board of the Community Foundation of Greenville.
Seman is a member of Greenville County Council, first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 to represent District 24. She currently chairs the Public Works Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee.
Seman has served on the board of directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Forward, the Junior League of Greenville, Saint Joseph’s Catholic School, the Leadership Greenville Alumni Association, the Palmetto Bank Community Board, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority Board, Community Works Carolina and the Advisory Board of the American Red Cross. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class XXVII and Diversity Leadership Academy Class IV. She was one of the YWCA Dream Achievers in 2006 and was named one of Greenville's Top 25 under 35 in 2003. She is also an Elder at Fourth Presbyterian Church.
Seman received her B.S. in Marketing from Miami of Ohio. She is married to Steve and has one son, Walker, who attends Furman University.
George C. Shields
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
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. He joined the Furman administration in July 2016.
Before coming to Furman, Shields spent six years at Bucknell University as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where he also oversaw the university’s School of Management and was a professor in the department of chemistry.
In addition to serving as founding dean of the College of Science and Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University, he has also taught at Hamilton College and Lake Forest College. He is founder and director of the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry (MERCURY), a collaboration of 27 undergraduate research teams at 24 different institutions.
Shields enjoys a national reputation in the field of undergraduate research, having collaborated with more than 100 undergraduate students in the fields of computational chemistry, structural biochemistry and science education. He received the 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and he currently serves on the executive board of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).
Shields received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry and a doctorate in physical chemistry all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral research on protein-DNA interactions at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.