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Furman to hold commencement Saturday, May 11

Commencement has been moved to Timmons Arena because of the threat of rain and inclement weather in the Greenville area.

The commencement ceremony will be broadcast live here. 

Eleanor Beardsley, a 1986 Furman University graduate and international correspondent for National Public Radio, will serve as commencement speaker when Furman holds its graduation exercises Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Paladin Stadium.

Furman will award approximately 610 undergraduate and graduate degrees at commencement, which will be broadcast live via streaming video on the Furman website. The day will include an 11 a.m. baccalaureate service in McAlister Auditorium, a ceremony that is reserved for graduates and their guests and is not open to the public.

In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Timmons Arena and admittance will be by ticket only. More information is available at the commencement website.

Beardsley graduated from Furman in 1986 with a B.A. degree in European history and French.

This year’s student speaker will be graduate Aleah Imani-Grace King, a double major in communication studies and politics and international affairs from Greenville. She has served as an intern with South Carolina Educational Television in Columbia, and received the communication studies department’s Endel Medal for Excellence in Rhetoric and Oratory. She was also a member of the Riley Institute Advance Team as well as a lead student consultant for the Writing and Media Lab.

Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in June 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. She has since become an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team and is based in Paris.

Beardsley covered the recent “yellow vest” protests in France as well as the two waves of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. She has also reported on arriving refugees in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Sweden and France, and traveled to Athens to follow the Greek debt crisis.

She covered the first Arab Spring revolution in Tunisia, and has reported on three presidential elections in France, including the surprising landslide victory of outsider Emmanuel Macron in 2017. She has covered the Tour de France cycling race and visited her old stomping ground—Kosovo—to report for NPR on three separate occasions.

Prior to moving to Paris, Beardsley worked for three years with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. She also worked as a television producer for French broadcaster TF1 in Washington, D.C., and as a staff assistant to South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond.

A native of South Carolina, Beardsley graduated from Furman with a B.A. in European history and French. She received a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina.

Beardsley’s reports for NPR are available here.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107 and

Last updated April 29, 2019
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director