JOE HURLEY ’78
In August 1974, I drove from Minnesota to South Carolina and reported for Furman football. What a culture shock – grits and chewing tobacco! I wanted to come south and get a good education and play college football and run track. I wanted to graduate from a unique, church-affiliated university that had a really good academic reputation. Furman fit the bill.
I was a chemistry major for three long years, then bailed out to become a history major. My two favorite professors were Don Kubler and A.V. Huff. Dr. Huff made history come alive, and it was fun. Dr. Kubler was tough but taught me so much more than biochemistry; he taught me about dedication and perseverance. I was thankful to have graduated on time with my classmates.
What a unique time of life to be away from your family and to develop new relationships and experiences. Many friendships from my freshman dorm, Tau Kappa Epsilon and varsity sports have endured for the last 46 years. Surely, I can’t be that old!
In addition to the friendships, Furman introduced me to my future wife, Sally Taylor ’78. After three wonderful children, we were unfortunately divorced. Later, I was commuting to Texas as a hedge fund trader and met Diana Crabb, the widow of the late Philip Crabb ’79. Diana and I got married, I adopted her two daughters and we had one more daughter together. Total children were now six, four girls and two boys. My daughter Rebecca Aaron ’11, a psychology graduate, honored “Daddy Philip” and me by naming her first son Joseph-Philip (JP). God is the great creator; He is also a great repairman!
Furman academics taught me how to learn. From my graduation day forward, I have never stopped learning. Today’s world is one of specialization and knowing your exact goal. What I would say to students today is that if you don’t know exactly where you are academically or what you want to be, relax. Just keep studying hard and learning, and pay attention to what turns you on. In an odd way, Furman chemistry and history prepared me for my 40 years of investing and the founding of Chi-Rho Financial. “Chi-Rho” are the first two Greek letters of Christ. Our mission statement is to honor Jesus Christ and our clients and to deliver the best risk-adjusted rate of return possible.
To all my Furman friends, I wish each of you a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2021. God bless!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Hurley ’78 is the president and CIO of Chi-Rho Financial based in Atlanta, Georgia.
BEN MEYER ’22
When asked to write this article, to talk about what it’s like to be a Furman student now, the first thing that came to my mind was our sense of community. It was one of the primary factors that brought me to Furman, and one of the things that makes me excited to drive through the front gates at the start of each semester. It seems to fit in effortlessly with the stately brick buildings, and many, many fountains. But I think with the pandemic, we have all had to come to terms with the fact that our sense of community isn’t effortless – it’s something created by each and every one of us. And at the start of the fall semester, every one of us arrived on campus to find something new: online classes, missing friends and the constant reminder that a spike in cases could send us all home. It felt like we had to choose between being either on the campus or with the people we love.
Serving on the COVID Education and Training Subcommittee, I saw firsthand how hard it can be to bring about that sense of community trust. It’s an unavoidable fact that there are a lot of rules needed to keep us safe – but by their nature, rules are negative. How can students be expected to thrive while being constantly bombarded with reminders of what they’re not allowed to do? How can we remind students that we’re fighting against COVID-19, not each other?
Positive messaging ended up being one of the most important tools we have at our disposal. Whether through signs, social media or videos, demonstrating how students can socialize and thrive within the rules was something that needed to be done. Having fun and being safe aren’t mutually exclusive – they just look different now. It hasn’t been an easy adjustment for anyone, but through the hard work of a lot of people, our community will get through this. Watching our community grow and evolve, while still maintaining its Furman spirit, makes me proud to call myself a Paladin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Meyer ’22 is a biology and French double major.
We have the opportunity to work every day with extraordinary students. We expect them all to leave our community confident and equipped to pursue their personal missions and inspired to create a positive impact in their worlds.
We believe each student is uniquely gifted, and we invest in each of them in ways that matter to them.
Our best opportunity to guide, empower and advise our students is to care enough about them to see them through the talents they naturally possess and to help them create expectations and opportunities for themselves. Our efforts are attracting notice. Last spring, Furman won one of five 2020 Don Clifton Strengths for Students Awards for helping students develop their talents into strengths and fostering greater academic achievement, engagement and well-being.
Across campus you can find Strengths development training and conversations occurring in classrooms through team-based learning, between a professor and a student advisee, between a career counselor and a student, within a team of student leaders as they discover the talents of their peers, and in a small group with a Gallup Certified Strengths coach.
In January 2019, 20 campus staff and faculty members were introduced to Gallup’s coaching, advising and mentoring approaches through a Gallup-facilitated training program. The purpose was to empower those who work with students to integrate Strengths into programming, mentoring and advising.
The Strengths Champion team at Furman helps students sharpen their focus and their aim in life, because we know that with a great first launch from Furman, students will be able to look back and see how their Furman experience got them there.
The Strengths Development Strategies Initiative at Furman helps students identify, develop, leverage and aim their natural talents at purposeful lives and careers that are authentic to each one individually. Strengths drives engagement. Engagement leads to thriving. Thriving leads to clarification of purpose. And we expect Furman students to soar in life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Keefer is the director of Furman’s Shucker Center for Leadership Development.