It’s still summer on the calendar, but the break is over for Furman students. On Friday, Aug. 24, one of the most diverse and academically talented freshman classes in university history began reporting to what has been a quiet campus, with the rest of Furman’s undergraduates arriving on Sunday, Aug. 26. Classes begin Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Furman will hold its opening convocation on Monday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m. in McAlister Auditorium. Judge Keith B. Johnson ’05, associate Juvenile Court Judge for the Augusta (Georgia) Judicial Circuit, will serve as speaker. Following the ceremony, the entire university community is invited to attend a luncheon on the Furman Mall.
At convocation, Furman President Elizabeth Davis will preside as the university welcomes the class of 2022 and celebrates the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. In addition to recognizing individuals who have received special honors, the university will introduce the five members of the senior class who have been named Furman Fellows for the current academic year.
Students of color account for 21 percent of the 717 freshmen and 18 transfer students new to Furman, and as a group the class of 2022 boasts an average SAT score of 1357 and a 3.6 core GPA. Six new students are enrolled in the second year of the Furman University-University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville Direct Entry Program, which guarantees them admission into the medical school if certain undergraduate requirements are met.
There are eight Duke Scholars with average SAT scores of 1553. In addition, there are 11 class valedictorians, two salutatorians, 21 student-body presidents and 322 National Honor Society members. Fifty-one have lived outside of the United States, and 21 hold dual citizenship. Three percent are international students.
2018-19 will also mark the two-year anniversary of the launch of The Furman Advantage and another step in the Pathways advising program. Nearly 100 first-year students participated in last year’s pilot program led by faculty advisors, which focused on transitioning to college and setting a foundation for a four-year pathway to graduation, and now as sophomores they’ll be encouraged to reflect on strengths and interests to set academic, co-curricular and career goals.
Another 180 first-year students, who will receive one credit hour per semester when classes begin, were selected to participate this year. Furman also held its second annual Academic Pathways Fair during Summer Orientation, where faculty and staff helped first-year students understand the courses they should consider as they start to explore their path at Furman.
Related to Furman’s work on The Furman Advantage, the university is well into its first year of a partnership with Gallup to measure the progress of the school’s vision and its key ingredient for success – engagement. Feedback from on-campus interviews and focus groups is being used to adjust current advising initiatives and to expand high-impact, engaged learning opportunities.
At the end of the July, the Task Force on Slavery and Justice completed more than a year of study and produced a report including a history of Furman’s ties to slavery and a number of recommendations for the university to consider going forward. More about the task force and its report are available here. As part of an ongoing discussion of the findings over the next several months, Furman is planning a campus forum on Oct. 1 and discussions with alumni during Homecoming. The times and locations for these events will be announced after classes begin.
Furman’s Board of Trustees is reviewing the report and will discuss it during its late October meeting, followed by a public event to announce next steps.
Furman is also welcoming its new vice president for development, Heidi Hansen McCrory. McCrory comes from Kenyon College in Ohio, and she will serve as the university’s chief advancement officer and be responsible for annual and endowment support, planning and solicitation of major gifts and capital campaigns, alumni and parent relations, and donor relations and stewardship.