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Furman to honor its top military brass at Homecoming

IS FURMAN AN INCUBATOR for top military brass?

Bill Mayville ’76, a product of Furman’s military science program, noticed a few years ago that a number of Furman graduates were being promoted to the military’s top ranks. His research found that seven Furman graduates currently serve as general officers in the Army, with five on active duty. Several more graduates are generals in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. Since 1950 Furman has produced 11 Army general officers, two Navy admirals and a Marine Corps general officer.

Furman will honor its high-ranking military graduates November 9 during Homecoming. It will be a rare treat for the members of the university’s Corps of Cadets to interact with the alumni officers who are able to attend. The campus will also hold a special ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11.

And there’s more to this military story. To support the career development of Furman’s ROTC cadets, Mayville, a Florida businessman and strong Furman supporter, worked this spring with retired Army colonel Mike Pasquarett, who taught in the military science department during Mayville’s student days, to develop a program in Washington, D.C., for the university’s graduating cadets.

With Pasquarett’s help, the cadets were able to visit such sites as the Pentagon, Brookings Institute and Capitol Hill, meet officers with Furman ties, and learn about how national security policy and strategy are developed and applied at the highest levels. The idea for the trip, called “How Washington Works,” came from a course Pasquarett taught at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., for senior military and civilian leaders.

Pasquarett said he wanted the Furman cadets to have a head start as they began their military careers. “It is important for them to know the process, to know the players,” he said.

He came to campus in March to teach the first part of the course, drawing from his three decades in the military and 12 additional years on the faculty at the Army War College. The mini-course covered such topics as defense policy and strategy, national security organization, the influence of the Washington think tank community, and Defense Department interactions with Congress.

Mayville and Pasquarett hope that the program can be expanded, and that in the future political science and history students can join the Furman cadets in Washington.

The information gathered and connections made through “How Washington Works” will likely provide a career boost to the 2013 cadets, who received their commissions May 3. Perhaps one or more of them will become the next Furman general.

NEW FACE IN THE OFFICE: Sarrin Towle Warfield ’03 has joined our staff as assistant director of alumni programs. She earned her Furman degree in communication studies with a concentration in women’s studies, then received a master’s in organization development and a coaching certificate from the McColl School of Business at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. She’s married to Rob Warfield ’02.

We’re delighted to have Sarrin back on campus. With Homecoming approaching, don’t be surprised to hear from her soon!


A report by Erikah Haavie for served as the basis for this column. Tom Triplitt, a 1976 graduate, is Furman’s executive director of constituent relations and alumni programs.

Last updated February 10, 2016
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director