Former coach Willie Miller is managing a return to prominence for Furman's golf course
An inaugural performance
Several of Furman’s music ensembles performed during the inauguration of Jim Hodges as governor of South Carolina January 13 in Columbia. The 92nd inaugural ceremony and official swearing-in were held on the South Steps of the State House. The Furman Singers and the Furman Symphonic Band, totaling more than 200 musicians, performed a medley of patriotic songs. The Hartness String Quartet and members of the Furman Harp Ensemble also performed at the governor’s reception following the inauguration.
InsideFurman is published monthly during the school year by the Furman University Department of Marketing and Public Relations. For story ideas, e-mail John Roberts, editor.
A Message from the President
With the start of this new year, I have good news to report: Furman has never been stronger. Indeed, as we approach the end of the century, our university is poised to take its deserved place among the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges.
Student interest in Furman continues to grow. Applications for next year are up 7 percent over last year’s all-time record. As the headmaster of a prominent New England prep school reported last month, Furman has become a “hot” college. The class of 2004 will be the strongest ever.
Equally important is that students are remaining at Furman once they enroll. Our retention rate — the percentage of students who return each year — has improved to 92 percent, another historic high, and the retention rate for this winter term is another all-time record.
Last spring we commissioned a national firm to conduct a study of student satisfaction at Furman. The report reveals that our students are pleased with nearly every aspect of university life — even the food! According to the survey, Furman students are “significantly” more satisfied with the quality of teaching, academic advising, and the campus environment and community atmosphere than students at other private colleges. Most of them feel a strong sense of belonging at Furman and find it to be a “supportive” community. Such positive feelings about the university are a direct result of the efforts of faculty and staff.
Our alumni are also increasing their support of alma mater. Last year, more than half of our graduates contributed to the Furman Fund. This is an exceptional level of participation that has been reached by just a handful of colleges our size.
Perhaps most gratifying has been the recognition of your efforts by those outside the university. In December Furman received an unexpected Christmas present when it was one of five liberal arts colleges from across the nation awarded a $150,000 Presidential Leadership Grant from the Knight Foundation. The Foundation’s selection committee, made up of current and former college presidents, noted in its award letter that Furman “has developed a confident sense of its future direction and is clearly on the move.”
This unexpected award represents a wonderful tribute to the collective efforts of the entire Furman community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. In particular, your good work, day-in and day-out, is helping to attract and retain more first-rate students. Whether you are a departmental secretary acting as a surrogate parent to a homesick student, a professor taking extra time with a student struggling in a course, a member of the grounds crew stopping work to direct a visitor to the Admissions Office, or a coach helping an international student feel at home, you play an important role in our commitment to being a student-centered university.
To be sure, much remains to be done to fulfill our dreams for Furman, but as this new year unfolds, I want to congratulate — and thank — you for your dedication to this special community of learners and your tireless efforts on its behalf. It is an honor and a privilege to work with you. — David E. Shi