Furman University is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian university in Greenville, South Carolina, United States. Furman is the oldest, largest and most selective private institution in South Carolina and is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. Founded in 1826, Furman enrolls approximately 2,550 undergraduate and 525 graduate students on its 750 acre (3 km²) campus. Its current president is David Shi, who graduated from Furman in 1973.
Furman is best known for its chemistry, history, music, religion, political science, and psychology departments. The psychology, computer science, and chemistry departments have earned high marks among professional organizations spanning the sciences (social, applied, and basic), notable for a liberal arts institution of Furman's size.
Furman University students have an unusually high acceptance rate into graduate schools. Approximately two-thirds of Furman students will earn graduate degrees. More of Furman University’s graduates have gone on to earn Ph.D. degrees in recent years than any other private liberal arts college in the South, according to a survey conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center.
Furman University emphasizes "engaged" learning in which professors encourage undergraduate students to author articles, participate in internships, and volunteer in their respective fields of study. The Furman Advantage program funds research projects between professors and students. Furman receives funds annually from The Duke Endowment for general operating support and for special projects and programs. The center of engaged learning is the Max and Trude Heller Service Corps, formerly CESC, one of the nation's largest collegiate service-learning organization.
Furman was founded in 1826 as a Men's Academy and Theological Institute finally locating in Greenville, South Carolina
in 1850, named after Dr. Jason Furman who set up a private trust to fund the original campus infrastructure. The original school building from that campus is located on the current Greenville campus today. In 1933, students from the Greenville Women's College began attending classes with Furman students. Shortly thereafter, the two schools merged to form the present institution. Furman began construction on its new campus, just five miles (8 km) north of downtown Greenville, in 1956. Classes on the new campus began in 1958. Now a private, non-religiously affiliated university, Furman was founded by, and affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention
and the Southern Baptist Convention
until separating in the 1991 - 1992 school year. However, the university's motto remains Christo et Doctrinae (For Christ and Learning), and, according to Furman University's official website, "is rooted in the non-creedal, free church Baptist tradition which has always valued particular religious commitments while insisting not only on the freedom of the individual to believe as he or she sees fit but also on respect for a diversity of religious perspectives..."
Furman was ranked no. 15 in the Washington Monthly
's Top US Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings based on its production of research valuable to society and its commitment to national service. Furman has been ranked no.4 in U.S. News Best Undergraduate Research Programs along with MIT, Stanford and Michigan. The university's engaged learning academic program, which promotes problem-solving, project-oriented, experience-based education, has received high praise from The Princeton Review
, Peterson's Competitive Colleges
, The Fiske Guide to Colleges
and The College Board College Handbook
. In terms of input, meaning the quality of the students the institution attracts, Furman was ranked no. 30 in the SSRN's U.S Colleges and Universities Preference Rankings (based on the choice to enroll of high-achieving students in US) The Chronicle of Higher Education also ranked Furman no. 32 in the nation for the percentage of National Merit Scholars in its 2005-2006 freshman class.
According to a report from the American Institute of Physics, Furman is one of 35 schools whose physics departments offer a bachelor’s as their highest degree to average 10 or more undergraduate degrees for the classes of 2003, 2004 and 2005.
(0.1-km²) lake is at the center of the 750 acre (3-km²), wooded campus. Many academic buildings and student residences stand around the lake, including the Bell Tower. The Bell Tower figures highly in school insignias and is a replica (within 1/16th of an inch) of the tower that once existed on the men's campus in downtown Greenville. Today, the campus is anchored by its newly expanded 128,000 square foot (12,000 m²) James B. Duke Library
Informally known as "The Country Club of the South," Furman was named one of the 362 most beautiful places in America by the American Society of Landscape Architects
. The fall 1997 issue of Planning for Higher Education names Furman as a benchmark campus for its landscaping as well. To add to the campus's extensive merit for aesthetic beauty, the 1996 Fisk Guide to Colleges referred to Furman's campus as a "shining jewel." Also, the 1997 Princeton Review ranked Furman fifth in its list of beautiful campuses, this based on student ratings of campus beauty. Students are required to live on campus all four years. However, during a student's senior year, s/he may be eligible to live off campus through a lottery. There are two residence complexes (called Lakeside and South Housing), as well as four housing cabins which make up Bell Tower Housing. Most juniors and all seniors live in North Village Apartments, located near the Bell Tower.
Furman University Student Government (known as AFS or Association of Furman Students) works under a semi-Presidential system. AFS is made up of the executive council, and president, secretary, and two senators for each class. The class officers are assigned within one of six committees to specialize in a particular area of student needs.
Furman competes in NCAA Division I athletics as the Paladins. The university is a member of the Southern Conference. In 1988 Furman won the NCAA I-AA National Football Championship. Furman also appeared in the 1985 and 2001 NCAA I-AA National Football Championship game, but lost (to Georgia Southern and Montana, respectively). Furman, Colgate and Lehigh remain the only private universities that have appeared in the I-AA Football Championship game, and Furman is the only private school to win it. Over the past few years, Furman's football team has been consistently ranked in the top 3 spots in the NCAA I-AA polls, and recently climbed to no. 1 in the nation in the latest Sports Network polls . The Paladins have also claimed 12 Southern Conference football titles, more than any school in league history.
The men's soccer team has been ranked as high as no. 3 in the nation and has produced a share of professional players. Former star Clint Dempsey was the only American player to score a goal at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Few collegiate woman golf programs have produced more outstanding professionals than Furman, which boasts 11 former Lady Paladins on the LPGA tour, including two Hall of Fame inductees (Betsy King and Beth Daniel). Furman men's tennis coach Paul Scarpa is only the fourth college tennis head coach in history to reach 700 wins. He is currently the winningest active coach in the NCAA's and has coached 108 All-Southern Conference players. Furman's Rugby Club team has also proved notable in recent years, winning the East Coast Collegiate Championship five out of the last six years. Started in 1998 by John Roberts, the club continues to excel in Division III rugby in the southeast with many accolades. Despite winning the past few Division III titles, Furman makes a controversial decision to remain in Division III and not move up a level to face stiffer competition. This has been met with criticism as the past few years, Furman has outplayed their Division III counterparts. Furman is the only liberal arts college to be ranked in Sports Illustrated Top 100 America's Best Sports Colleges and has 32 former student-athletes competing at the professional level- the most of any Southern Conference member school.
- Eleanor Beardsley - National Public Radio correspondent
- Maurice Bloomfield - Austrian-born U.S. philologist and Sanskrit scholar
- Jay Bocook - Renowned Composer and Arranger - Work Featured at 1984 Olympic Games
- Ben Browder - Three-time Saturn Awards winner for Best Actor on Television on Farscape
- Betsy Byars - children's author, winner of the Newbery Medal, a National Book Award, an Edgar Award and the Regina Medal
- Pamela DeLargy - Manager of the U.N. Population Fund’s Humanitarian Response Unit
- Joseph H. Earle - member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1878 to 1882, a member of the South Carolina Senate from 1882 to 1886, South Carolina attorney general from 1886 to 1890 and a United States Senator from South Carolina in 1897
- William Dimitrouleas (1973) - United States District Judge
- Hans Einstein - the foremost authority on the lung disease Valley Fever
- Amy Grant - The Best-Selling Contemporary Christian/Pop artist in the world, 6-time Grammy Award-winner
- Wilton E. Hall - newspaper publisher and United States Senator from South Carolina from 1944 to 1945
- Clement Haynsworth - Former United States judge and an unsuccessful nominee for the United States Supreme Court
- Baron Hill - Indiana congressman
- Erik Huffman - Contestant on the CBS show, Survivor: China
- Victoria Jackson - Former cast member of Saturday Night Live
- Herman Lay - Founder of the Lay's Corporation, later creating the largest-selling snack food company in the US, the Frito-Lay corporation
- Keith Lockhart - Current conductor of the Boston Pops
- John Michael McConnell - Has served as director of the National Security Agency and currently serves as Director of National Intelligence
- * Keelan Parham- Cartoonist, author of Let's Toon Caricatures, owner of Caricature Connection, a caricature concession company based out of Walt Disney World, member of the National Cartoonists Society
- Roger C. Peace - United States Senator from South Carolina
- William H. Perry - United States Representative from South Carolina
- Richard Riley - Former Governor of South Carolina and U.S. Secretary of Education under the Clinton administration
- Mark Sanford - Current Governor of South Carolina
- Jeff Shoaf - Current Regional Account Director, Indirect Sales Reliant Energy
- George Singleton - Novelist
- Alexander Stubb - Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
- Nick Theodore - Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina from 1987 to 1995
- Donald Todd - Executive Producer and Writer - Brother's Keeper, ABC and Consulting Producer Ugly Betty
- Charles Townes - Nobel Prize-winner in Physics, inventor of the maser, laid theoretical groundwork for invention of laser
- Brian Bratton - NFL player, rookie free agent for the Atlanta Falcons in 2005, formerly a receiver for Baltimore Ravens assigned to the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe.
- Luther Broughton - former NFL tight end
- Rushia Brown - WNBA professional player, most recently for the Charlotte Sting
- Ned Caswell - Former ITF No. 1 ranked player in the world Men's 35s
- Ricardo Clark - Professional soccer player for the Houston Dynamo, 2003 MLS Rookie of the Year runner-up
- Austin Creed - Professional wrestler for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- Beth Daniel - LPGA Tour, World Golf Hall of Fame, 32 career victories
- Clint Dempsey - Professional soccer player, 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year and member of the United States men's national soccer team, only US player to score a goal in the 2006 World Cup, currently plays midfield for Fulham of the English Premier League
- Brad Faxon - eight time winner on the PGA Tour, played on two Ryder Cup teams
- Jerome Felton - Furman fullback; 5th round draft pick by the NFL Detroit Lions in 2008 NFL Draft
- Bruce Fleisher - won the U.S. Amateur in 1968, professional golfer on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour
- Stanford Jennings - Former NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals, scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII; current New Balance sales executive
- Sarah Johnston - FUTURES Tour golf player and contestant in The Big Break VI
- John Keith - NFL player for San Francisco 49ers
- Andy Kidd- Former all-conference selection for Furman soccer team and current head coach of varsity soccer team at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Betsy King - LPGA Tour, World Golf Hall of Fame, 34 career victories
- Jonathan Leathers - Professional soccer player for the Kansas City Wizards
- Ingle Martin - NFL player, QB for Tennessee Titans
- Angel Martino - Olympic Gold Medalist in swimming
- Tom Mastny - Pitcher for Cleveland Indians
- Scott Nelson - 4 year soccer letterman, 31 career goals at Furman, drafted 56th by Houston Dynamo in 2007 draft
- Cam Newton - NFL player, Defensive Back for Carolina Panthers
- John Barry Nusum - Professional soccer player for the Virginia Beach Mariners and Philadelphia Kixx
- Jason L. Pagan - World Record Holder - Bench Press - Weight Class.
- Dottie Pepper - Former LPGA Tour champion; current NBC and Golf Channel commentator
- Sergei Raad - Professional soccer player for the Kansas City Wizards
- Bear Rinehart - South Carolina Player-of-the-Year Award 2002 and Singer/Guitarist of NeedToBreathe
- Orlando Ruff - NFL player for Cleveland Browns
- David Hugh Segal - Olympic Bronze Medalist in track and field
- Frank Selvy - Former NBA All-Star; holds record for the most points in any NCAA Division 1 basketball game
- Sherri Turner - Professional golfer, won the 1988 LPGA Championship
- Derek Waugh - head men's basketball coach at Stetson University
- David Whitehurst - Former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers
- Sam Wyche - Former NFL head coach; led Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII
- Shea Salinas- soccer player MLS team San Jose Earthquakes.
- Chris "Gizzy" Harden- Former Roller Hockey Star and Option Quarterback
- Albert Blackwell (retired) - Religion, author of The Sacred in Music
- Chris Blackwell - Classics, author of Mythology for Dummies (co-authored with his wife, Amy Hackney Blackwell).
- Jay Bocook - Music, composer of music for 1984 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies in Los Angeles
- Charles Brewer - Psychology
- Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. - Physics, television pioneer, video game inventor
- Jim Guth - Political Science, focusing on Religion and Politics
- Mark Kilstofte - Music, winner of the American Academy in Rome's Rome Prize for 2002-2003
- Hayden Porter - Computer Science
- Richard Prior - Classics, author of 501 Latin Verbs
- Mahon Bishop - Music and Vocal teacher to Broadway actors and many opera students; vocal instructor to Rudy Giuliani's daughter
Majors and concentrations
- Honor Societies:
- Quaternion Club
- Senior Order
- Secret Societies:
Points of interest