John Beckford, professor of music and former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at Furman University, will serve as speaker when Furman holds its summer commencement exercises Saturday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium.
The university will award approximately 60 undergraduate and graduate degrees during commencement. Furman president Elizabeth Davis will preside over the ceremony.
Beckford, who joined the Furman music faculty in 1976, spent five years as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean before retiring at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. He has also served the university as Dean of the Faculty (2008-11) and Chair of the Faculty (2005-07). He will return to full-time teaching at Furman in the spring of 2017 after a fall sabbatical.
Beckford was the first full-time percussion instructor at Furman, and he has been principal percussionist and timpanist for the Quad-City (Iowa/Illinois) Symphony Orchestra and percussionist for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. He is also an active freelance musician, having performed with such artists as Henry Mancini, Marvin Hamlisch, Natalie Cole, and the Three Irish Tenors.
In addition to serving for three years as Chair of the Council of Deans for the Associated Colleges of the South, Beckford was a faculty member and chair of the music division with the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts (1982-1999) and past president of the South Carolina Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Fine Arts, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Iowa.
For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.