For alumni and friends
of the university

From the Vault: A Difference that Endures

The Atkinson Gate, the front gate of the university, was made possible in 2016 through a gift from J. Thomas ’58 and Sherry Atkinson.

By Furman News

A name has the power to evoke. It can stir our hopes and inspire our efforts. At Furman, named gifts also symbolize academic prestige, athletic excellence, the embrace of community and opportunities that transform lives.


Townes, Timmons, Lay. Their names are legend and represent individuals whose generosity endures across eras, creating a timeless presence at the university – and a world made better by the students who benefitted from their vision. In the decades that followed, so many others have given to Furman to support students, faculty excellence, facilities and life-changing experiences. Here are a few gifts from recent years.  

The Jennifer McHan Good Collaboratorium, a study area and lecture hall in the computer science department, was named in 2022, thanks to a gift from Jennifer McHan Good ’92. The Messinger Family Scholarship, through a gift from Wyatt ’04 and Lauren Buquo Messinger ’06, was created in 2018 for students with financial need. Preference is given to students who intend to pursue healthcare or health policy careers. In 2021, the couple also began providing annual support to The Institute for the Advancement of Community Health’s summer fellows program.  

A newly renovated film room for the men’s basketball program, the John & Barbara Block Film Room, was named in 2022. A gift from John ’63 and Barbara Block ’63 made the project a reality.  

The Mary Seawell Metz ’58 Fund for the Directorship of the Faculty Development Center was created by a gift from former Furman Trustee Mary Seawell Metz ’58. It is intended to ensure that faculty have ongoing support to help them build vital, purposeful academic careers. 

The Atkinson Gate, the front gate of the university, was made possible in 2016 through a gift from J. Thomas ’58 and Sherry Atkinson. 

On March 14, Furman lost a beloved member of its community, Gordon R. Herring ’65, who was a member of the Furman Board of Trustees and past chair, a retired executive vice president of TeleCable Corp. and one of the founders of the Weather Channel. He had served on Furman’s Advisory Council, was a founding member of Furman’s Benefactors Circle, chaired the Campaign Executive Committee for the Forever Furman Campaign and served on the Hollingsworth Funds Board. His generosity and vision will benefit music students and the university for years to come. The Herring Music Fellowship Fund and the Herring Music Chair Endowment were established by a gift from Gordon and Sarah Herring ’66 in 2020. Their gift is intended to attract exceptional musicians to the university, to help Furman compete for talent against other institutions, and to enrich the university and community with cultural experiences.

The generosity of friends of Furman Thomas J. Boone Jr. and Brenda Boone gave us the Thomas J. Boone Jr. & Brenda Boone Film Room, newly renovated and named in 2022 in support of the women’s basketball program. 

In 2020, the Davies Idea Exchange opened as part of The Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It serves as a campus hub for collaborative thought, exploration and entrepreneurial education for students, faculty and staff. The generosity of Gary Davies ’90 and Kristin Baucom Davies ’89 created the space at Furman. 

The Davis & Faxon Training Facility at REK was dedicated in 2022. The worldclass facility for men’s and women’s golf was built thanks to gifts from former Paladin golf greats Cindy Davis ’84 and Brad Faxon ’83.

Mary Seawell Metz ’58
Gordon ’65 and Sarah Herring ’66
Gary Davies ’90 and Kristin Baucom Davies ’89 (pictured from left, with son Elliott ’22)
Cindy Davis ’84 and Brad Faxon ’83, pictured at center, with President Elizabeth Davis and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Donnelly