Associate Athletics Director of Facilities and Game Operations Todd Duke, and Marian Strobel, the William Montgomery Burnett Professor in History, have been named to the All-Southern Conference (SoCon) Faculty and Staff Team.
Duke and Strobel join representatives selected from each of the 10-member schools in the league.
While selections at the individual SoCon schools were left up to each institution’s discretion, the recipients all share the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community.
Duke, a member of the Furman community since 1997 and the 2018-2019 Heller Service Corp Staff Member of the Year, has direct oversight and management responsibilities for all scheduled events involving Timmons Arena and other athletic facilities, a role rendered even more challenging with the pandemic.
Surprised by the nomination from his friends in the athletic department, Duke says he’s “more comfortable behind the curtain.”
Indeed, Duke’s work is largely behind the scenes, ensuring student athletes, faculty, staff and other students have a safe experience while attending events on campus.
“It really is just the process of applying the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines that get everyone six feet apart, sanitizing and setting up plexiglass, and moving things around to minimize contact tracing for the athletes, creating an environment where the limited number of people that we can have at a game can feel safe and enjoy it,” Duke says.
Before becoming a member of the Furman athletic department in 2013, Duke served as business manager and director of operations for Timmons Arena from 1997 to 2004, and later as associate director with university conference and event services. He has also served since 2015 as faculty advisor to Furman’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Duke says the honor holds special meaning to him as he embarks on 24 years at the university.
“My family has grown up here, they’ve gone to school and worked here,” says Duke, husband to Christine Duke and father of four children, two of them Furman graduates.
“The recognition is humbling because working here is not really work. I get to come and do events and sports with a dedicated group of people and hang out with Furman athletes and other Furman students. It’s really is like a family, pardon the cliché,” Duke says.
Strobel has served on a myriad of committees since coming to Furman in 1981, including the Faculty Status Committee, for which she was a member for more than seven years, becoming the only faculty member to earn tenure on it, she jokes. She was chair of the History Department from 1999 to 2010 and chair of the Furman faculty from 2017 to 2019.
Recipient of the Meritorious Teaching Award and the Maiden Invitational Award for excellence in the classroom, she has also been an active participant in the first-year seminar program and was part of the original team that implemented the graduation requirement designed to teach college-level writing, pose challenging intellectual issues and engage students in thoughtful discussions with peers.
A Shi Sustainability Fellow, Strobel studies the history of women’s higher education and American politics after World War II, as well as African American history.
She has presented her research at numerous prestigious venues such as the annual conferences of the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association and the American Historical Association.
She has also been a member of special teaching-based seminars and has participated in Furman faculty foreign study trips to Canada, Jamaica, Cuba and Mexico. For several years, Strobel has co-directed a study away class on war and remembrance that commemorates the centenary of World War I and includes travel to England, France and Belgium.
About the award she says, “I am absolutely thrilled by the All-SoCon Faculty award. Being celebrated in this way is a huge honor. Over the years, I have always tried to be supportive of both Furman and its athletic programs, especially its students.”
She marvels at how Furman student-athletes spend their days in class, go to practice or away games, then soldier on late at night to study and write, even when their bodies can do no more. “They are remarkable, and I am so proud of them,” she says.
A loyal Paladin Club member, Strobel attributes her respect for athletes and love of athletics to her father, who played football and lacrosse at Colgate University, and who, at the age of 102, was honored at a Furman home football game vs. Colgate 10 years ago. “He died several months later,” Strobel says. “I am so glad to have those happy memories.”
Duke and Strobel will be presented a plaque and honored at an upcoming Furman home basketball game.