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Celebrating the New School Year

Approximately 1,200 faculty, staff, students and members of the Greenville community came together in McAlister Auditorium Thursday as Furman University officially celebrated the beginning of the 2016-17 school year with fall convocation.

Dr. Ken Peterson delivered the convocation address.

Dr. Ken Peterson delivered the convocation address.

Furman president Elizabeth Davis presided over the ceremony, and the convocation address, “The Furman Advantage,” was delivered by Dr. Ken Peterson, Furman’s Interim Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Economics.

The university presented several major awards and honors during Convocation.

The Bell Tower Award, one of the university’s highest honors, was presented to Rubye and Wayne Reid ’68, a couple who have made significant contributions over the years to the development of Furman students through the university’s accounting program and Career Center.

The Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, a 1989 Furman graduate and Executive Director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, received the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award.

Furman history professor Steve O’Neill was given the Faculty Meritorious Award for Diversity & Inclusion, while the Staff Meritorious Award for Diversity & Inclusion went to Carol Hagood, Assistant Director of Academic Assistance.  Elizabeth Veilleux, a 2016 Furman graduate, was honored with the Rosa Mary Bodkin Award.  The recipients “demonstrated an emerging or sustained commitment to advance Furman’s value of diversity and inclusion, and multiculturalism on campus.”

The university also recognized five members of the senior class who have been named Furman Fellows for the current academic year.  They are Ian McConnell of Reston, Va., Emilee O’Brien of Wilbraham, Mass., Lattie Reddoch of Calhoun, Ga., Amanda Richey of Baton Rouge, La., and Katie Scholles of Wyoming, Ohio.

Those fellowships are awarded annually to five members of the senior class who’ve shown “unique leadership skills and an ability to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.”

The awards are made possible through the generosity of Bob Buckman, a Furman trustee emeritus, and his wife, Joyce Mollerup.


Bell Tower Award

Rubye and Wayne Reid

Rubye and Wayne Reid, lifelong Furman University partners, have developed cherished friendships with many Furman alumni who have benefited from their career counseling, advice and mentoring.

Furman president Elizabeth Davis and trustee Mike Riordan presented the Bell Tower Award to Rubye and Wayne Reid (center).

Furman president Elizabeth Davis and trustee Mike Riordan presented the Bell Tower Award to Rubye and Wayne Reid (center).

High school sweethearts, the Reids were married October 18, 1964 shortly after graduating from Greenville High School where they met at the Junior/Senior prom.  Wayne graduated from Furman in 1968 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Accounting. The couple then moved to Atlanta to attend graduate school. In 1970, Wayne earned a Masters of Professional Accountancy from Georgia State University.

Wayne’s career as a financial advisor and tax consultant has spanned 50 years. He worked for the Internal Revenue Service from 1966 to 1970 and has served many clients as a tax partner with Arthur Andersen (1970-2002) and Deloitte & Touche (2002-04). Wayne is retiring as a partner with Frazier & Deeter, LLC.

Rubye and Wayne have been active in many civic and professional activities, and Rubye’s greatest joy is that she had the time to be involved with many school and community activities. She is a member of the University of South Carolina’s College Board of Nursing Partners and has long been an ardent supporter of animal welfare programs. Rubye has worked with the Atlanta Humane Society, Fur Kids, Good Mews, New Leash on Life, Canine Assistance, Happy Tails Pet Assisted Therapy and is the co-founder of Fix Ga Pets, a non-profit organization to educate and fund low or no cost neutering and spaying for dogs and cats. She has been involved with many community projects involving hospitals.

Wayne has been active with the Georgia Biomedical Partnership, the Association for Corporate Growth, Technology Executives Roundtable and has served on the Georgia State University Advisory Council.

Rubye and Wayne have worked through Furman’s Accounting Department and the Career Center to counsel and prepare students to enter the corporate world. Wayne has interviewed and opened career doors for more than a hundred Furman graduates and has recruited and hired many alumni.

In 2002, the Wayne and Rubye Reid Award was established in their honor. Each year it recognizes a Furman alum who has made significant achievements to the career development of Furman students.

Wayne Reid is a lifetime member of the Furman Advisory Council, and the Reids have been continuous donors to Furman for more than 40 years. In 2015, they established the Wayne and Rubye Reid Family Endowment Fund. Proceeds from the endowment benefit the Furman Accounting Department.

Rubye and Wayne Reid, your devotion and service to Furman, particularly in the field of career development and advancement, has set an impeccable standard for others to emulate. Your counseling and friendships have opened career opportunities for generations of Furman alumni. For these and many other reasons, Furman is proud to present you both with the BELL TOWER AWARD.

For remarks please note that the Reid’s two children: Wayne D. Reid II and Elizabeth Reid Bruck and four grandchildren are in attendance. They are very proud of their family and are honored to have them here today.

Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award

LeDayne McLeese Polaski ’89, M. Div.

LeDayne McLeese Polaski may be a life-long Carolinian but her commitment to peace and justice has motivated her to reach far and wide in pursuit of racial reconciliation and restorative justice. After graduating magna cum laude from Furman University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, LeDayne earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University in 1993.

LeDayne McLeese Polaski received the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award.

LeDayne McLeese Polaski received the Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award.

Ordained by Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, she served for five and a half years as the Minister of Youth at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte.  During this time, she built training and enrichment events for the congregation and intergenerational events for children, youth, and parents.

In 1998, LeDayne began working with the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America in Charlotte, North Carolina; an international organization committed to building cultures of peace through the process of conflict transformation. During her role as summer conference coordinator, LeDayne organized and coordinated a week long international conference. Later, as program director, she represented the BPFNA publicly through writing, preaching, teaching, and workshop leadership. Her objective was to deepen partnerships throughout North America.

In 2013, she was appointed to the Executive Directorship of BPFNA. Her focus, which has strengthened during the years, is to gather, mobilize, and equip individuals and congregation to work for peace rooted in justice. The BPFNA works with other peace fellowships to witness for an end to the Iraq war, holding services and nonviolent “holy obediences” in Washington, DC.

LeDayne McLeese Polaski, you live your life and dedicate your calling to the idea that peacemaking is more than speaking out against violence.  It should be a prescriptive and transforming way of life. For demonstrating to all of us that peacemaking requires a total commitment of body, soul, and mind, Furman University is proud to recognize you with the 2016 Richard Furman Baptist Heritage Award.

Furman Fellows

Class of 2017

Ian McConnell is a mathematics and music double major from Reston, VA.  His positive, uplifting spirit, encouragement, and respect of others along with with his hard work, dedication, and creativity allow him to make a difference at Furman and beyond.  A Wylie Math Scholar, Ian’s exceptional problem-solving skills were evident during his summer research project in the area of sports analytics.  At each stage of his research, Ian faced challenges and offered creative solutions.  In addition to his work in mathematics, Ian excels as a principal cellist in the Furman Symphony Orchestra and was selected as an honors recital performer.  Ian is a member of the Pauper Players and serves as president of the FUtones, for which he sings, composes, and arranges songs, plans concerts and recordings, and arranges charity performances.  In addition, he wrote, performed, recorded, and released an album of original pop songs.  Beyond Furman, Ian plays cello for retirement homes and worship services and sings in the choir at First Baptist Church of Greenville.  Ian is also a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity.

Emilee O’Brien of Wilbraham, MA, is lauded for her work ethic and her keen ability to understand issues and arguments and carefully analyze those debates.  A political science major, she has lobbied with the Friends Committee on National Legislation regarding prison and sentencing reform.  She was also selected to present her paper, “A Gathering of Allies,” on Dr. Martin Luther King’s last Sunday sermon at the Carolinas Communication Association Convention.  On campus with SHARP (Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention), she worked to coordinate Sexual Assault Awareness Week.  Highlights of this work included reaching out to Greenville artist Wanda Meade to organize an exhibit “Survivors Finding Voice” in the Furman library.  In addition, Emilee developed a well-attended on-campus awareness event entitled “Advocacy and Healing: A Community Dialogue.”  Her work is further highlighted by her volunteer experience at The Charter Oak Culture Center, a non-profit cultural arts center.  As one professor notes, “Emilee has made a tremendous difference at Furman and elsewhere, engages others and the problems they face in imaginative and constructive ways, and is extraordinarily well regarded.”

Lattie Reddoch is a mathematics and piano performance double major from Calhoun, GA.  A team player determined to tackle intellectual challenges, Lattie participated in the Director’s Summer Program at the National Security Agency.  In addition, her student research at Furman worked to optimize the assignments of students at different high schools in the Greenville County School District.  Her development of this project showcased her problem-solving abilities and highlighted the care and concern she has for others.  Also a talented pianist, Lattie has excelled as a soloist and collaborative artist.  Winner of the biennial Furman Concerto Competition, she has  alsoperformed on the music department’s honors recital and was inducted into the music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda.  She is a current member of Furman Singers and Twelve Peers, was the pianist and musical director for the Pauper Players’ production of Shrek, and sings in the choir at First Baptist Church of Greenville.  Lattie is an instructor in the Piano for Young People program, serves as a keyboard teaching assistant and mathematics tutor, and has volunteered for Project Host, a local organization that works to fight hunger.

Amanda Richey, an earth and environmental sciences and communication studies double major, hails from Baton Rouge, LA.  She stands out as a well-rounded and hardworking leader with a passion for people, community, and service.  Amanda has effectively merged her interest in the environment with her love of writing and people and has contributed extensively to the Engaged Living Program, the Furman newspaper as chief editor, the Environmental Action Group, the Environmental Science Department’s Bartram Society, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Interfaith Youth Core.  Outside of Furman, she has been a community activist, helping to advocate and assist with local community gardens, lobbying state representatives on regional and national environmental issues, and educating the masses on climate change and the importance of climate change policy.  In addition, she has served the needs of children by working in the Girl Scout Wrangler Program and by tutoring at Lakeview Middle School.  Amanda’s strong character and her commitment to improving the lives of others have made a positive impact on peers, the University, and the broader community.

Katie Scholles, a biology and anthropology double major from Wyoming, OH, is lauded for her engaging and sincere personality as well as her keen interest in helping others.  In addition to balancing two majors with additional coursework for a possible career in medicine or forensics, Katie has shown exceptional skill in the research setting.  Not only is she serious about her work, but her enthusiasm and collegiality foster a very positive working environment.  She matches her intellect with an interest in helping others and engaging with the Furman community.  As one professor notes, “In my experience, her first thought is never about herself, but more about how she can prepare herself for a career focused on others.”  She is currently the founder and president of the Club for American Sign Language, the co-founder and co-president of the Anthropology Student Association, and a founding member of the Red Cross Club in the Heller Service Corps.  In addition, Katie works in the Center for Academic success and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society, Biology Honor Society, Women in STEM, and the Medical Missions Organization.

Last updated September 1, 2016
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Clinton Colmenares
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