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Retiree tribute: Professor Trudy Fuller

I HAVE BEEN fortunate to know and work with Trudy Fuller since I was 16 years old and a student at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities summer program. I went on to study with her for four years at Furman.

As my years as a student passed I began to cherish my weekly lessons more and more. Trudy not only taught me how to sing and be a better musician, she showed me how to expect more of myself than I ever thought was possible. The lessons I learned about singing were invaluable, but the sense of discipline Trudy instilled in me informs my learning and my life to this day.

Although she may not have specifically set out to give me the skills required to be a teacher, I now find myself drawing from her example as I teach my own students. She was demanding, but she had a compassionate manner that left her universally adored. Even as I had finished my senior recital and been accepted to a top conservatory, she still pushed me hard through my last lesson as a Furman student.

In the years since I graduated, Trudy, who taught at Furman for 30 years until deciding to retire this spring, has been one of my biggest fans, an extraordinary mentor and a special friend. She watches every video I post on YouTube, listens to every recording I send her, and offers great encouragement and opinions. She is eager to hear about the progress of the students that I now teach. All that I do has been inspired by Trudy’s instruction.

Trudy received the Alester G. Furman, Jr., and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching in 2003, and she exemplifies what makes Furman a world-class institution: great professors who push students to achieve their personal best. Her style was distinguished by a humble dignity that has left a lasting impact at Furman and, through her many students, around the world.


 The author, a 2004 graduate, lives in Lexington, Ky., where he maintains a private voice studio and singing career. He holds a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music.


Last updated September 16, 2013
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