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Clearly Furman raises $68.5 million for student-athlete scholarships, facilities, and operations

Furman’s women’s golf team.

Last updated March 25, 2024

By Furman News

Furman University friends and alumni have stepped up in major ways recently to support Paladin Athletics. Their gifts are part of the $392 million raised to date toward the overall goal of $426 million by 2026 through Clearly Furman, the Campaign for Our Third Century.

Through the campaign, Furman Athletics has raised $68.5 million with emphasis on student-athlete scholarships, while also funding coaching endowments, operational needs, international trips and capital projects. Capital projects funded include, but are not limited to, a weight room renovation to benefit all sports, the new Davis & Faxon Training Facility at the REK Complex and renovations to the REK Center benefitting men’s and women’s golf, upgrades to men’s and women’s basketball offices, locker rooms and film rooms, enhancements to Alley Gym for volleyball, upgrades to the men’s and women’s tennis facilities and a renovation to Timmons Arena, which was announced in February 2023.

This campaign specifically targets endowment growth as its top objective as the university works to ensure the long-term financial health of Athletics and other institutional programs, including Furman’s 18 Division I sports. Endowing scholarships is imperative to ensuring that Furman’s 18 sports remain elite and nationally relevant now and for years to come. Each scholarship that is endowed is funded in perpetuity, which paves the way for Furman Athletics and the University to remain financially healthy for years to come.

“Our top campaign priority, scholarship endowment, represents an investment in future scholars, competitors, contributors to the global society and individuals of integrity. It is a commitment that will provide an example of philanthropic leadership for Furman University, Furman Athletics and beyond,” said Jason Donnelly, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics.

So far, donors to The Clearly Furman campaign have contributed $10.5 million to endow new athletic scholarships. The sports most impacted by this support include cross country/track and field, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s tennis, soccer, volleyball and football.

“We are so grateful for our donors’ commitment to endowment and share their desire to build a funding source that will ensure a strong future for Furman Athletics,” said Erin Wissing, executive senior associate athletics director for Development and Alumni Relations. “This strategy requires endurance and belief in a long-term vision, and I am very proud of our Furman Athletics Fund team and our coaches for all they are doing to partner with our incredible donors to move us forward.”

Golf is one sport where Clearly Furman is making a difference, and there is still work to be done. The endowment for the women’s golf team funds just more than two of the program’s six scholarships, meaning funding for the remaining scholarships comes from the department’s budget each year. The university has a goal of raising $3.77 million to fully endow the remaining scholarships. Cindy Davis ’84, a Furman trustee, is leading the charge to ensure women’s golf sets the standard.

By NCAA rules, men’s golf is permitted to award a maximum of four-and-a-half scholarships. However, Furman’s program has been operating below that threshold as it has worked to fund and award all men’s golf scholarships through endowment. As a result of successful fundraising, four men’s golf scholarships will be endowed and awarded by the end of 2025, and the NCAA maximum will be endowed and awarded by 2026.

“As a current coach and golf alumnus, I am so incredibly thankful for the generosity and support of our alumni base, friends and family who made this possible,” said Matt Davidson, the men’s golf team coach. “To be able to endow all four-and-a-half NCAA scholarships by 2026 ensures both the long-term stability of our program well into the future and greatly affects our current ability to be nationally competitive and to take our program to new heights. It was really an amazing effort by so many people, and we are grateful for all the support and so excited about the future of Furman Golf.”

The Clearly Furman campaign runs through 2026, Furman’s bicentennial. Erin Wissing said she is energized about the philanthropic possibilities ahead. “There is still a tremendous need and many opportunities for donors to impact our trajectory through their giving. The generosity of the Furman faithful will be a distinguishing factor for Athletics as Furman enters its third century.”

How can I contribute?

Donors can either fund scholarships annually with gifts to the Paladin Scholarship Fund or to the general endowments of each of the 18 sports, or they can make a larger impact by establishing a named endowed fund that will provide resources in perpetuity. Multi-year commitments – whether to annual scholarship funds or to endowment – make the greatest impact and allow Furman to plan and anticipate scholarship needs. An endowed scholarship for Athletics may be established with a multi-year commitment of $100,000 or more. A donor’s gift is invested in Furman’s endowment to provide a scholarship in perpetuity based on the earnings growth. An endowed fund provides scholarships to strengthen a program’s offerings today and solidify support for future student-athletes.

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