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A message from President Davis: Gratitude for community

Elizabeth Davis
Furman University President Elizabeth Davis

On Friday, Nov. 20, Furman University President Elizabeth Davis shared the following message with the campus community, expressing her gratitude to students, faculty and staff for adding to Furman’s resilience during the pandemic. 

Dear Campus Community,

On Monday, my husband Charles and I picked up lunch at DeSantis Pavilion. It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm and sunny. The food was delicious, but it was most enjoyable because we got to see some familiar faces and experience a touch of normalcy. As we wrap up the semester and enter the holiday season, I want to share just how grateful I am for everything you have done to bring some normalcy to this most abnormal year.

As a community, you have shown great care for each other, making sacrifices that have been challenging, tiring, and quite often frustrating. But you haven’t wavered in your commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of fellow students, faculty and staff, or to our academic purpose. Your resilience through it all is admirable, to say the least.

Students, thank you for all you did to help us get through and complete the semester on campus. Whether you are new to Furman or you have been with us for several years, you have demonstrated a sense of caring and community that will serve you the rest of your lives. Never more so, perhaps, than after the passing of senior Ava DeVine. Losing a friend and classmate is one of the hardest experiences you may ever have. I am moved by the concern you showed for each other and the love you expressed to Ava’s family.

Thank you, faculty, for reimagining your classes and going above and beyond to make accommodations for in-person and remote teaching and learning. Your ability and willingness to adjust and adapt, along with your commitment to providing an exceptional education, served our students well.

To our staff, who ensured students and employees had the support they needed, including new technology in all of our classrooms and safe living, learning and working spaces, we couldn’t have done this without you. You are essential to our success.

Finally, thank you to the hundreds of staff, faculty and students who served on various committees and working groups who developed plans and protocols to ensure we could have a safe, in-person campus experience, and especially to the members of the COVID Response Steering Committee and the Public Health and Safety Advisory Group.

For a look back on the resilience and accomplishments of your friends and colleagues over the past year, please see the annual president’s report and the fall edition of Furman Magazine. For the latest news and information, please visit Furman’s news site.

As we finalize our plans for the spring, I am more confident than ever in Furman’s ability to thrive in the face of adversity. We will continue to face challenges, but we will also have many reasons to celebrate, including the unveiling of a statue and plaza in honor of Joseph Vaughn, the university’s first Black undergraduate student, in January. We will share more information on this in the coming weeks.

I could not be prouder of our community. The monumental nature of the task was surpassed only by your efforts. I’m looking forward to taking more steps together toward normalcy in the New Year.

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving.


Elizabeth Davis

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