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An honor of the highest accord

Patrick Musau signs the Quaternion ledger at Old College Sunday. The tradition, and ledger, are more than 110 years old.
Musau, wearing a red bandanna in keeping with club tradition, was presented with an image of Old College at the induction ceremony. (photo by Coach John Roberts)

Furman Rugby Captain Patrick Musau joined rare company Sunday.

The austere group includes three former Furman Presidents and two former South Carolina Governors. Musau, a senior from Nairobi, Kenya, was initiated into the Furman Quaternion Club. Founded in 1903, Quaternion is generally considered to be the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Furman man.

Formed to honor four men from the senior class who distinguish themselves in “scholarship, leadership, character and loyalty,” congressmen, governors, university presidents and titans of industry have sprung from the ranks of this small group. It is an organization steeped in tradition. Only the Glee club, formed in 1898, the Bonhomie (1900) and Echo (early 1890s) predate Quaternion as a Furman organization.

Musau has played eight man and center for the Paladins. He is a two-time all-Southern Rugby Conference Player and has tremendous respect from his teammates.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honor Society), Musau has a 3.9 Grade Point Average.  He is double majoring in Physics and Computing/Applied Math and plans to pursue a graduate degree in engineering after graduating from Furman

Quaternion’s meeting place, Old College bespeaks the organization’s deep history.  One of the oldest buildings in the Upstate, Old College, was the first university building erected in Greenville when Furman relocated its campus from Winnsboro to the downtown area in 1851.

In 1910, Quaternion, which had been holding its meetings in Old College, petitioned the Furman Board of Trustees for the structure after it was slated for destruction.  The petition was granted, provided the club maintain the building and grounds surrounding it. In 1958, Old College was the only that made the transition to the new campus.

Each year, Quaternions gather at Old College, located on Furman lake, to induct new members and sign the near-century-old Quaternion register.  New members are also given a key to the Old College at the ceremony.

 

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