NOW THAT I AM BACK in an academic environment, memories of the dreaded first English class writing assignment following summer vacation come to mind — having to write about long car trips with the family and siblings punching one another in the back seat, or de-tasseling corn and baling hay in the heat of an Illinois summer, or hanging out at the town swimming pool.
This time, however, I write to celebrate and to share summer news about Furman.
The Class of 2017 joined us for the summer orientation process for both entering students and their families. They, like all of us who have faced the reality of our first college experience, were excited and a bit nervous, and had plenty of questions. They left full of confidence that nearly everything was going to be just fine — as long as the students occasionally called or texted home! Now that the school year has started, they’ve joined the returning students in making the campus come alive once again with energy and special purpose.
But what about the Class of 2018 — what will it be like? To find out, my wife Lynne and I each played “Undercover Boss” (no, not in disguise) and joined tours for interested parents and prospective students as they learned about the special place we call Furman University. Standing in the shoes of those seeing the campus and hearing about Furman for the first time, I could not help but be proud of the knowledge and enthusiasm of our student advocates and Welcome Center staff.
It made me realize, however, that everyone is a salesperson on behalf of Furman, whether it is current students or alumni speaking with friends at home, parents talking with one another at a party, or staff and faculty who take the time to stop and introduce themselves to visitors, making them feel welcome. It’s impossible to know just how influential each of us might be in making that extra effort to help another young person begin the path of lifetime learning as a Furman student.
Furman staff and faculty are not only committed to helping students learn to their utmost abilities, but also to helping them prepare to use their skills early and often in the workplace of the future. We do that in a number of ways, including through undergraduate research, study away and internships.
Concerning internships, a great deal of effort was given this summer to extending and enhancing our existing internship programs in the broad areas of health and health management through new cooperative efforts with Greenville Heath System. I am excited about the possibilities for Furman students and the community in this rapidly growing field. In addition, the expanding entrepreneurial community in the Upstate is virtually untapped as a source of practical experience for our students. We are working to develop the close relationships that will lead to more opportunities for our students as interns, employees, and maybe even as entrepreneurs!
Perhaps the most significant physical change returning students found was the transformed Trone Student Center, with its expanded food offerings at the brand new Paddock Restaurant and its beautiful gathering places, both inside and out, overlooking the best view on campus.
As you read this, the fall sports season has begun. The new PowerBlade Bolt playing surface in Paladin Stadium has been installed for football and for our first lacrosse games this spring, and the stadium fieldhouse is expected to be fully completed late in the football season. Our coaches and their staffs, both those new to Furman and the veterans, have all been working hard, recruiting, planning and training. I hope to see everyone out cheering for the Paladins this year.
And finally, we have been working hard to bring a successfulclose to our Because Furman Matters Campaign. We are close, but really need everyone to consider how they might make a difference and leave a legacy that will have impact for years to come. Read more about the final stage of the campaign on page 15.
— CARL KOHRT