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Students and faculty honored during 2024 Commencement

Winners of student awards: Saluda Abigail (Abby) Stapleton ’24, Logan Manning Coffee ’24, Gabrielle Lisette Fehler ’24, Christina Hunter Fleming ’24, Joshua Richmond Hutson ’24. Not pictured: Caroline Graham Brawley ’24.

Last updated May 3, 2024

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy

Student and faculty awards and honors were handed out at the May 4 commencement ceremony for the Class of 2024 by Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. She was assisted by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Beth Pontari and Board of Trustees Chair Kevin T. Byrne ’91.

General Excellence Awards

An older white-haired white man, a young woman with long blonde hair and a woman with short blonde hair stand in graduation regalia for a photo. The young woman holds two wrapped packages.

Caroline Brawley ’24 stands with Kevin T. Byrne, chair of the Board of Trustees, and President Elizabeth Davis during Commencement in McAlister Auditorium on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Brawley received the Brashaw-Feaster Medal and a Scholarship Cup.

The Donaldson-Watkins and the Bradshaw-Feaster Medals for General Excellence are awarded each year by the faculty to outstanding senior graduates. The awards are based on scholarship, general culture, participation in college activities and high moral character.

In 2024, the Donaldson-Watkins Medal was presented to Saluda Abigail (Abby) Stapleton of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Bradshaw-Feaster Medal went to Caroline Graham Brawley of Newport, Tennessee.

Scholarship Cup

The Furman University Scholarship Cup is awarded to the undergraduate degree candidate or candidates with the highest grade-point average. Each of the winners achieved a perfect academic record.

This year, Scholarship Cups were awarded to Brawley; Stapleton; Logan Manning Coffee, Easley, South Carolina; Gabrielle Lisette Fehler, Greenville, South Carolina; Christina Hunter Fleming, Windermere, Florida; and Joshua Richmond Hutson, Greer, South Carolina.

Meritorious Teaching and Advising

The Alester G. Furman Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Advising is given annually to a member or members of the faculty or staff judged to be exceptional academic advisors. The 2024 wards for meritorious advising were presented to Veronica Lee Flores, assistant professor of psychology, and Kevin Richmond Hutson, professor of mathematics.

The Alester G. Furman Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching is given annually to a member or members of the faculty in recognition of teaching excellence. The 2024 award for meritorious teaching was presented to Matthew Shepard Feigenbaum, professor of health sciences.

The Chiles-Harrill Award is presented annually to a member of the faculty or staff chosen by the senior class as having the greatest influence on the class. Recipients of the award become honorary members of the class and sit with the class during the Commencement ceremony. The 2024 Chiles-Harrill Award was presented to Andy Coe, the associate director of the Internship Office in Furman’s Center for Engaged Learn.

Retiring Faculty

Retiring faculty were also acknowledged at the ceremonies. This year’s faculty retirees represent 200 years of cumulative service to the university. Faculty who retired after the 2023-2023 academic year were:

  • Laura Ellen Baker, associate librarian, who served 23 years on the faculty,
  • William Mebane Baker, professor of physics, who served 30 years on the faculty,
  • Carmen Sofía Kearns, professor of modern languages and literatures, who served 30 years on the faculty,
  • Savita Nair, Gordon Poteat Professor of History and Asian Studies, who served 21 years on the faculty,
  • Jay Edward Oney, professor of theatre arts, who served 28 years on the faculty,
  • Marian Elizabeth Strobel, William Montgomery Burnett Professor of History, who served 43 years on the faculty, and
  • Suzanne Burger Summers, James C. Self Professor of Business and Accounting, who served 25 years on the faculty.

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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy