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Furman Board of Trustees approves faculty promotions & tenure, adds members

During its spring meeting in May, the Furman University Board of Trustees approved promotions or tenure or both for 14 faculty members and granted emeritus status to eight professors who retired this summer. The board also added four new members and named emeritus members to its ranks.

The member of the faculty promoted to the rank of associate professor is Maria R. Rippon (modern languages and literatures).

Faculty members promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenure are Sarah Archino (art) and Barbara A. Siefert (education).

The members of the faculty approved for tenure are Geoffrey Habron (earth and environmental sciences) and Benjamin J. Snyder (health sciences).

Faculty members promoted to the rank of full professor are Teresa N. Cosby (politics and international affairs), Sarah Frick (mathematics), David M. Hollis (biology), Onarae V. Rice (psychology), J. Aaron Simmons (philosophy), Benjamin W. Storey (politics and international affairs) and Dake Wang (physics).

Jennifer L. Colvin (library) and Jeffrey M. Makala (library) were promoted to the rank of librarian.

The eight professors granted emeritus status are John S. Armstrong (communication studies), Michael R. Brodeur (art), Charles A. DeLancey (communication studies), Daniel M. Koppelman (music), William A. Ranson (earth and environmental sciences), David S. Spear (history), Aristide F. Tessitore (politics and international affairs) and Carolyn C.J. Watson (art).

All faculty promotions, tenure and emeritus status became effective Aug. 1.

New members added to the Board of Trustees include Kristin (Kristi) Baucom Davies ’89 (Charlotte, North Carolina), Anthony Wilton McDade ’79 (Simpsonville, South Carolina), William Byrd Traxler, Jr. (Greenville, South Carolina) and C. Kemmons Wilson III ’98 (Memphis, Tennessee). Their terms began July 1.

Davies graduated from Furman in 1989 with a bachelor’s in English. She began her professional career at American Express before landing a job with Cooper & Cooper Advertising Agency in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She went on to become a regional marketing director for Living Centers of America from 1993-1997, where she implemented marketing strategies for long-term care facilities across the South.

Davies now partners with her husband in various family-owned business franchises that span the Southeast, including Smoothie King, HiTone Fitness and The Human Bean.

She is married to Gary Davies ’90. They are the parents of Sawyer (UVA ’19), Elliott (Furman ’22), and Arden (Clemson ’24). She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoys travel, interior decorating, fitness and leading Bible study groups.

McDade recently retired from United Ministries where he had served as executive director since July 2016. Formerly the executive director at Greenville Area Interfaith Hospitality Network, McDade is widely experienced in social ministry enterprises in both Carolinas. GAIHN, a shelter-to-housing ministry for homeless families, joined with United Ministries in 2016 as an example of how the synergy and capacity of collective impact can benefit participants, agencies and the greater community.

McDade received a bachelor’s in history from Furman, a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. An ordained Baptist minister, Tony has served as an educator and administrator in several congregations. He and his wife Cam ’80 share a rich tradition of family members who have served Furman’s Board of Trustees over the decades.

Traxler is a returning member to Furman’s board. He is the former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, a court that hears appeals from the federal courts in the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. A graduate of Davidson College and the University of South Carolina Law School, he practiced law in Greenville with his father until 1975 when he became an assistant state prosecutor, then deputy prosecutor in 1978. In 1981, Gov. Richard Riley ’54 appointed Traxler as solicitor for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in South Carolina, for which he was elected a resident state trial judge in 1985 by the South Carolina General Assembly. He was re-elected in 1986.

Presidential nominations led to Traxler’s posts of United States District Court Judge for South Carolina (1992) and United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (1998), for which he became Chief Judge in 2009, presiding until 2016.

In 2007, he was elected to the board of directors for the Federal Judicial Center. In 2010, he was  named to the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and later served as chairman of the committee.

Wilson, a business administration alumnus, joined Kemmons Wilson Companies in 2005 where he serves as principal at the privately held business based in Memphis, Tennessee. Experienced in overseeing the marketable securities portfolios for Wilson family members and Wilson-related corporate and charitable entities, his primary focus now is on private investment initiatives.

Before his career in the family business, Wilson sharpened his investment experience by working as a hedge fund research analyst and as a financial analyst for an investment consulting firm. Wilson also worked in the nonprofit sector for a corporation that served people with disabilities.

He is chairman of the board for Repairing the Breach and is a board member for the Gifted Education Foundation. Wilson also holds board positions at Peak +, Wilson Investment Management, Valor Hospitality and Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

He earned a Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Two members were named emeritus trustees for their extraordinary contributions to the university. They are Francie M. Heller (Greenwich, Connecticut) and Gordon R. Herring ’65, H’91 (Greenville, South Carolina).

Heller serves as director at Arabesque Asset Management USA, a firm that pioneered an approach to asset management in integrating ESG (environmental, social and governance) big data with quantitative strategies. She previously was a managing partner at Heller Advisory, an alternative asset placement agent.

In her 30 years of experience in the financial world, Heller also worked as a managing director at Houlihan Lokey where she ran the pension, endowment and foundation group, and she served as managing director client relations and head of pension solutions at Chilton Investment Company.

She held the posts of senior managing director and global head of pension, endowment and foundation services at Bear Stearns and Co., Inc. Previously, she was president of MBIA Municipal Investors Service Corporation.

Heller was also an education director in New York public schools for several years. She is a graduate of Boston University and earned a master’s equivalent degree from the University of Georgia. She serves on several not-for-profit boards including Big Picture Learning and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Greenville native and Furman alumnus Herring served three years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain. He joined TeleCable Corporation in 1970 as director of research, eventually becoming executive vice president in 1989. After retiring upon the sale of TeleCable, he is now a private investor.

A leader in the cable television industry, he served on the operating committee of Viewers’ Choice, as a founding member of the board of directors of Cable Television Administration & Marketing Society, and as a member of the National Affiliates Marketing Advisory Committee of Home Box Office. A founder of The Weather Channel, he is a former trustee of Averett College, a former member of Furman’s Advisory Council, a past chair of the Furman Board of Trustees, a founding member of Furman’s Benefactors Circle, chairman the Campaign Executive Committee for the Forever Furman Campaign, and he served on the Hollingsworth Funds Board.

Herring, who holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Furman in 1991, and in 1992 was awarded the National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Marketing.

The board also recognized the contributions of seven trustees whose terms expired June 30 – Don Anderson (Charlotte, North Carolina), Robert Blocker (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina), Sean Hartness, (Greenville, South Carolina), Stanford Jennings (Milton, Georgia), Carl Kohrt (Salem, South Carolina), Rick Timmons (Greenville, South Carolina) and Baxter Wynn (Greenville, South Carolina).

Alec Taylor of Charleston, South Carolina, was recognized as the outgoing chair of the board. He will continue to serve on the board until his term ends on June 30, 2023. The current board chair is P. Edwin Good ’67, whose term began July 1.

Last updated October 12, 2020
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director