Susan Shi

Susan Thomson Shi

Retired First Lady and Civic and Community Volunteer

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A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Susan Thomson Shi graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1971 with a degree in history.

As a student at Furman, she served as a student body officer and was elected to Senior Order, the university's honorary leadership organization for senior women. She was also named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She went on to earn a master's degree in education from Furman and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a 2002 graduate of the Riley Institute's Diversity Leadership Academy.

Shi worked for 12 years as an educator and administrator, mostly in the North Carolina public schools. She returned to Greenville in 1993 and then spent 16 years (1994-2010) serving as Furman's First Lady in partnership with President David Shi. She received the Gordon L. Blackwell Alumni Service Award and an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Furman in 2010.

An active civic and community volunteer, especially in the area of education, Shi chaired the boards of Greenville's Public Education Partners, the Community Foundation, United Way, and Success by 6 – an early childhood initiative. She led the United Way's development of its Community Impact Agenda in 2003 and Greenville County School's Strategic Plan in 1999. She is the founding board chair of the Institute for Child Success and now serves as Chair Emerita.

Shi's honors include being elected to The Order of The Jessamine (2000), which recognizes contributions of women to the Upstate; receiving the School District of Greenville County's "Superintendent's Award" (2000); being awarded the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville's "Ruth Nicholson Award" (2001) and having the YWCA's "Susan T. Shi Endowment for Infant and Toddler Care" established in her honor (2002). They also include the Whitney M. Young Humanitarian Award (2003), The Children's Hospital of Greenville's "All for the Love of Children Award" (2009), The Magazine of Greenville's "Giving Back" Award (2010), and the United Way's Spirit Award for Community Leadership (2012).