Joseph Vaughn walking to class, books in hand

Commemorating Desegregation at Furman

Furman University commemorated its 50th anniversary of desegregation by exploring the events that led to this watershed moment and honoring the pioneers who fought to achieve equality at the institution.​​

On Jan. 29, 1965, Joseph Vaughn became Furman’s first African-American undergraduate student, joining three educators—Henry Adair, William Bowling, and James Kibler—who enrolled as graduate students. The arrival of these four students marked the turning point in a debate that divided the campus for more than a decade and changed the university’s culture forever.

Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, Furman hosted a series of events to commemorate this important event—and honor those who put the university on a path toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive community.​

Furman to Register all qualified students headline in newspaper

Road to Desegregation

Review the events that led to Furman's decision to desegregate its campus.

View our history

Beyond Desegregation

The process of integrating African Americans into campus life occurred slowly, and in many ways, continues to this day.

View more
Joespn Vaughn and other black students at Furman
Conovcation, professors in hand


Furman hosted a series of events to commemorate its anniversary of desegregation.

See how we celebrated

Make a Gift

Support our commemoration by giving to the Joseph Allen Vaughn Scholarship Fund.

Make a gift​
Black and White photo of students in Johns Hall
black and white photo of people laughing


Have a question?

Contact us