The Jim Smart Award is designed to promote faculty and staff’s encouragement of vocational exploration and reflection by Furman students, and to recognize those that exemplify this work in their teaching, advising, mentoring, service, public engagement, and/or other aspects of their roles at the University.

This award celebrates the memory of Jim Smart, a longtime history professor (1967-1995), who was known for his passion for teaching and learning, his dedication to student development, and the importance he placed on students’ exploration of values and purposeful living, especially in the context of Furman University as a liberal arts college that focuses on a holistic approach to education. The award is made possible by a gift from Jim’s wife, Bonnie Smart, in memory of Jim and in honor of their two children, Rusty and Susan.

The award is given each year by the Cothran Center to a Furman University faculty or staff member who exemplifies a deep commitment to students and who encourages them to reflect seriously on their life’s calling(s). Nomination forms should provide evidence that the nominee:

  • helps students add depth and meaning to the life decisions they are making while in college (e.g., major, career, service to the community);
  • encourage students’ consideration of fundamental values in making life choices; and
  • provides a hospitable space for students’ personal, academic, and spiritual exploration.

While the committee welcomes the nomination of faculty and staff members whose normal responsibilities entail these kinds of discussion with students, the committee also encourages the nomination of faculty and staff whose encouragement of students’ vocational exploration goes above and beyond their normal responsibilities.

Any member of the Furman University faculty, staff, student, or alumni community may nominate a current (at time of nomination) Furman faculty or staff member for this award.

Past winners include:

Judy Stuart (Education) — 2015

Min-Ken Liao (Biology) — 2016

David Bost (Spanish) — 2017

Jason Cassidy (AVP for Student Life/Dean of Students) — 2018

Mark Stone (Philosophy) — 2019

Lillian Essaf (Associate Director for Residence Life) — 2020

Geoffrey Habron (Sustainability Sciences) — 2020

Tim Wardle (Religion) — 2021

Marian Stroble (History) –2022

If you have questions about the award or the nomination process, please contact or call at 864.294.3638.