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Former Furman President David Shi, Angela Halfacre Shi Make $500,000 Gift to University

Furman students work in the organic garden at the Shi Center for Sustainability.

Former Furman University President David E. Shi and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi, have made a $500,000 gift to the university that will provide additional financial support for students who are actively involved in the work of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability.

The gift, which will create an endowed fund to support student fellowships in the center, is made in honor of specific individuals who “have made extraordinary contributions to Furman and its commitment to sustainability over the years,” Shi said.  The Shi Center Sustainability Fellowships will be named for those individuals.

The David E. Shi Center was established at Furman in 2008.
The David E. Shi Center for Sustainability was established at Furman in 2008.

“Angela and I were eager to step up in support of President Davis’ recently announced strategic focus on The Furman Advantage, which ensures that every student has opportunities for engaged learning experiences, and the Shi Center Fellowships do just that,” Shi said.

The Shi Center was established in 2008 to foster and promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in support of sustainability on campus and in the greater community. One of the center’s signature programs has been the Student Sustainability Fellows program, said Dr. Weston Dripps, executive director of the center.

The fellows program supports Furman undergraduate students in sustainability research, service, and internships focused on campus and community-based projects. The fellowships are open to students with any major who are interested in sustainability-related work and are available during the academic year and summer. To date, the program has supported 236 student fellows from almost every major across campus, including 82 summer fellowships and 154 academic year fellowships. The new endowed fund will help expand the fellowship program.

“This timely and important gift will create even more quality experiences for Furman students who are interested in sustainability and who want to make a difference in the communities where they live,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “The Shi Center Fellowships will also support The Furman Advantage, our new vision to transform the student experience and redefine a liberal arts and sciences education. We are grateful to both David and Angela for their extraordinary generosity and their commitment to the university.”

The Student Sustainability Fellowships are available during the academic year and summer.
The Student Sustainability Fellowships are available during the academic year and summer.

The Shi Center has developed innovative, award-winning programs that provide educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members.  In addition to the student fellows program, the center oversees the Community Conservation Corps, in its sixth year, which enables student and community volunteers to “weatherize” underserved homes in the greater Greenville community.  The center also hosts applied research projects centered on sustainable food and farming, energy conservation, renewable energy, water quality, transportation, economic development, campus practices and other quality of life issues.  Upon Shi’s retirement as president in 2010, the Board of Trustees voted to name the center in his honor to recognize his commitment and national leadership in sustainability and energy conservation during his 16 years as president.

Furman has been widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability. The university received the 2016 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) “for outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.”  AASHE has also awarded Furman a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements nationwide.

The Community Conservation Corps provides free home weatherization to low income homeowners in the greater Greenville community.
The Community Conservation Corps provides free home weatherization to low income homeowners in the greater Greenville community.

The university is listed among the ‘Top 50 Green Colleges” in the Princeton Review’s 2016 Guide to 361 Green Colleges and the nation’s “Top 20 Greenest Colleges” by Online College Plan.  In addition to being a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Furman is the only private liberal arts and sciences university in the nation offering a bachelor of science degree in Sustainability Science. The university built the first LEED-certified building in South Carolina and now has seven LEED buildings on campus.

Those honored by the Shi’s gift with named endowed student fellowships include:

  • Carroll Rushing and Billie Cleveland
  • Judy Cromwell ’70
  • Richard Cullen ’71
  • David ’72 and Frances Ellison
  • James Grantham
  • Francie Heller
  • Carl ’65 and Lynne Kohrt
  • Jaime ’79 and Mary Anne Lanier ’79
  • Erwin Maddrey
  • Richard Robb
  • Todd Rupert
  • Frank ’61 and Susan Shaw
  • Minor Shaw
  • Tom Skains
  • Fred Stanback
  • Mary Sterling
  • Peace Sterling
  • Jim Thompson ’65

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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