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.
John S. Beckford
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty
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.
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 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.
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.
Angie Littlejohn is in her fifth year as Furman University's Legal Advisor. As one of the youngest in-house legal counsels in Division I, Angie remains active in teaching sports law and coaching the Furman University Mock Trial teams.
She has been a life-long participant in collegiate athletics. From her early teens she has worked with CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Raycom Sports as a statistician, spotter, stage manager, and Fox Box operator. She has also worked closely with Clemson University's Athletic Department learning sports information, television, and game operations.
Angie went on to complete her bachelor's degree at the University of Virginia, where she continued her work in athletics coordinating insurance for all student-athletes. She earned her Juris Doctor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. While at W&L, Angie served as a special intern to the director of athletics learning about Division III Athletics.
During her summers and immediately following law school, she continued her sports law studies under her mentor and friend, Mr. Terry Don Phillips. Angie then joined the Fields Law Firm as an associate. From there she joined the staff at Presbyterian College, overseeing all academics for student-athletes, as well as serving as a special advisor for Presbyterian's successful transition to Division I Athletics.
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 currently serves as vice president of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.
She and her husband, Bill, have one son, Christian.
To learn more, visit the Finance and Administration website.