Listen to Their Legacy
Gordon ’65 and Sarah Herring ’66 have committed to give $6.1 million to the Department of Music.
By Sarita Chourey
The next time you hear Furman brass players jamming, a chorale exulting in song, or the orchestra filling McAlister Auditorium with a romantic masterwork, close your eyes and get lost in your thoughts.
Think about the determination of the student musicians, their hours of practice, their artistry. Marvel at their faculty mentors who cultivated such talents. And contemplate the generosity of Gordon ’65 and Sarah Herring ’66.
The Herrings have established the Herring Music Chair Endowment and the Herring Music Fellowship Fund through a charitable commitment of $6.1 million. The couple’s gift follows decades of their already bestowed generosity – in time, guidance and financial support – to Furman.
“We hope our gift will attract exceptional students who can be magnets to draw other talented musicians to Furman’s music programs,” says Sarah.
Both Sarah, a German major, and Gordon, a history major, were members of the Furman Singers when they were students, an experience that gave them a special bond with Furman’s music department.
“Furman is exceptional for providing students with a rigorous liberal arts education,” Gordon says. “We believe the other liberal arts are enhanced by music. Because we weren’t music majors, our experience with Furman Singers served to complete our liberal arts education.”
Gordon was a telecommunications executive who helped launch The Weather Channel in 1982. Sarah’s career was in senior management in Telephone Company Operations.
Among the Herrings’ past acts of generosity to Furman are a $1.8 million gift that led to the construction of the Herring Center for Lifelong Learning and a $1.25 million donation that served as the lead gift for the Nan Trammell Herring Music Pavilion. Since the mid-1990s, the Herrings have provided Partner Scholarships, which support multiple music students each year.
Gordon, an emeritus trustee, feels that especially in these challenging times, music speaks to the soul of the individual and thereby enriches the soul of the university.
Bingham Vick Jr., professor of music emeritus and director of the Furman Singers from 1970 to 2010, emphasizes the importance of the Herrings’ gift to the university’s ability to attract gifted music students.
“In recent years, rising costs of Furman, increased competition for musical talent with other quality collegiate music programs, and knowing the value and the importance of the cultural experience that a strong music department could offer to students and to the community, the Herrings have taken a bold and important step and investment in the Furman musical program,” says Vick.
“I can attest to the importance and benefit Furman’s strong music program has had on the lives thousands of students. The Herring Fellowships now lead the way toward an even brighter future for the enrichment of the Furman experience.”