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Young alumnus gift helped Furman crest goal

More than 27,000 alumni, parents, friends, companies, and foundations made gifts to the Because Furman Matters campaign since 2004.

Charitable foundations accounted for several  multi-million dollar gifts. But it was a $25 gift from a young alumnus that helped the University crest the $400 million mark.

Andrew Trull ’10, a public relations strategist at Greenville public relations and branding firm Ferebee Lane + Co., is a member of Furman’s Young Benefactors, a group whose members each give $500 or more annually to the University.  In a separate gift this November, Trull donated $25 to the newly created Greek life fund.

A member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity as a student, the Raleigh native counts many best friends among his fraternity brothers. Greek life, too, helped him hone his leadership skills and fostered a greater appreciation for volunteerism and community outreach.

“It is my long-term hope that Greek life could be further embraced by the campus community for the leadership and sense of belonging it develops,” Trull said.

Trull has also supported the university’s internship program.  He worked with the internship office to secure an endowed summer position with Bob Underwood, Ph.D., business administration, to research foreign direct investment in the Southern Automotive Cluster in 2008.

Trull received additional experience at LinningSmoakCrawford Public Relations in 2010, transitioning to full time employment with the company’s new identity, Smoak Public Relations, for three years.

“Beyond the obvious, my internships and research gave me the ‘soft-skills’ and hands on experience I needed to apply theoretical knowledge,” he said.

Nearly 70 percent of Furman students complete an internship before graduating.

“Undergraduate internships offer the most utility for those not going to grad school because they build confidence.  Full time employment always requires some sort of experience, experience they offer. Even three years after graduation, Susan Zeiger [director of internships] helped me network and build job connections when I was looking to make a career change,” Trull said.

In all, 78 percent of Furman alumni participated in the campaign.  Mike Gatchell ’91, Furman’s vice president for development, says Trull’s support illustrates two points: every gift matters and having the option of targeting your donation to a specific program is appealing, especially to young graduates.

“Our alumni and friends are connected to Furman in many different ways,” says Gatchell. “At Furman they have the option of directing their gift to a program that made a difference in their life. It could be an academic discipline, Greek life, study away or a student club.”

“I don’t give just to give to Furman. I give to programs that made an impact like the internships office did for me,” says Trull. “I want other students to have those opportunities, too.”

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