When Robert Cushing ’20 sat down at the piano Tuesday at Daniel Recital Hall, it was an extra special moment, the climax of a semester-long effort.
Cushing was one of four student composers, including Jay Berthume ’19, Chandler Hyatt ’20 and Haochen Tan ’18, who shared new works during a special Composers Forum Tuesday, April 4, as part of Furman Engaged! He performed the piece, “Lullaby, oh Lullaby,” the fifth movement of a song cycle he wrote as a family tribute called “Songs for Walter.”
This year’s Furman Engaged!, one of the largest ever, was a day to celebrate the creative work and the scientific and social research being done by undergraduates on campus and beyond. More than 70 oral sessions were offered and 600 students made presentations. A total of 125 students made two or more presentations during the day, said John Kaup, coordinator of Science Education and Furman Engaged!
First started by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships in 2009, the annual event also showcases the myriads of experiential learning opportunities available in the classroom, through internships and during travel study.
“It is a time for our entire community to celebrate the special learning experiences that are a hallmark of a Furman education,” said Kaup.
This year’s program highlighted various aspects of life and community at Furman as part of a series of visual anthropology films produced by students and recognized writing by four outstanding freshmen – Carly Burkhardt, Shannon Duke, Catherine Lippert and Monika Schindwolf.
Nearly 100 students shared in the Hispanic Food Festival, hosted by the Modern Languages and Literatures Department and sponsored by Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish Language House and the Hispanic Organization of Learning and Awareness (HOLA).
The annual festival featured classic meals of Spain and Latin America and highlighted lesser-known favorites, such as the potato dish ensaladilla rusa.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a taste of some homemade Hispanic foods and share some time together,” said Spanish Professor Maria Rippon. “We’re happy that the festival has continued to grow over the years.”
The inspiration for Cushing’s musical performance came from a family heirloom, a first-edition book of children’s poetry published in 1872. His great-great-great-grandparents, Judson and Mary Stone, gave the book as a gift to their 5-year-old son, Walter. Walter passed away a few months later, so Cushing chose five of their favorite poems to set to music to honor their memory.
Cushing said he was excited to participate in Furman Engaged! for the first time.
“I think it’s easy to get so focused on your own department that you forget all the amazing things other students are doing around campus,” said Cushing. “I love that Furman Engaged! gives us an outlet to display to the greater Furman community what we’ve been working on throughout the year.”