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Hanks, Kilstofte first recipients of Furman Standard awards

The bond between professor and student is one of the hallmarks of a Furman education. It’s that bit of magic that lends itself to creative expression, career paths defined, and dreams revealed.

The Furman Standard, established in 2011 to support faculty development at Furman, pays tribute to those professors who set the standard for teaching excellence. Since the program’s founding, 28 professors past and present have been honored with gifts of $25,000 or more from alumni and parents.

As a result, the Furman Standard recently announced the first two faculty recipients of research grants. Chemistry professor Tim Hanks and music professor Mark Kilstofte were selected to receive $9,000 awards ($3,000 for three consecutive years) by the faculty’s Research and Professional Growth Committee. Two new recipients will be selected every year.

Hanks’ award will fund his research into anti-corrosion and anti-biofouling coatings for marine environments. His work centers on organisms such as algae, barnacles and mollusks, which form on surfaces in marine environments. This “fouling community” often negatively affects the performances of things like aircraft carriers and power plant cooling systems. The traditional method for counteracting this problem is to coat surfaces with paints containing toxic tin and copper complexes that erode and release toxins into the water. Working with colleagues in Australia and with his student research team, Hanks is attempting to develop an alternative coating that will be more environmentally friendly.

Kilstofte, an accomplished composer, will use his Furman Standard grant to support work on an opera based on Henrik Ibsen’s Brand, which Kilstofte says is “the story of a passionate, well-intentioned priest brought to ruin (or cataclysmic redemption) by his uncompromising beliefs.”

Kilstofte plans to complete a three-act libretto, develop the work’s principal dramatic arc and a series of character studies, compose the score, and orchestrate the piece. He says, “A work of this scale, my most ambitious to date, will demand the synthesis of everything I know about writing for voices and instruments, and about projecting dramatic shape. I’m grateful for the support that will enable me to pursue it.”

To learn more about the Furman Standard, contact or visit

Last updated June 3, 2013
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director