The following message was sent to Furman students, faculty, staff, trustees and friends on January 25, 2021.
Dear Campus Community,
Reflection exists at the core of The Furman Advantage – and, really, all that we do at Furman. It is how we take what we’ve learned and understand and grow from it. Reflection helps us to better understand our purpose and what constitutes a meaningful life.
It is with this in mind, and following the recommendation of the “Seeking Abraham” report and direction of the Board of Trustees, that Furman has reviewed and revised its Vision, Mission, and Values statements and updated a history of the university, including an extended timeline that is more comprehensive and inclusive.
A working group chaired by former Trustee Baxter Wynn and including students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees drafted the new statements, which focus on who we are, where we want to go, and what defines us as a university and a community. The Board of Trustees approved the revised statements in their meeting this past October. We are sharing today as we begin a new year and recommit ourselves to our values as an institution.
As Ed Good ’67, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “While the Board of Trustees is tasked with ‘acting upon matters of strategic importance … and successful achievement of its mission and goals, it is the faculty, staff and students who make our Vision, Mission and Values come alive. The elements of The Furman Advantage are deeply rooted within these statements and while the language has been updated, our commitment to leading lives of meaning and consequence remains the same.”
Distinguished University Public Historian and Scholar Courtney Tollison was the primary author of the updated history and timeline. She worked closely with other faculty, including members of the Task Force on Slavery and Justice, and Special Collections and Archives to review and gather materials.
Our former Character and Values Statement was much longer, in part because it included references to our history. In creating our new Values Statement, we removed the history, which is now more fully communicated in the extended history and timeline. This history reminds us of our founding and more fully tells the story of Furman, including the people and moments that have helped to move our university toward becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place.
I want to draw your attention in particular to our new Values Statement, and how it inspires and shapes our Vision and Mission, “calling us to meet the challenges and responsibilities of a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world with courage, moderation, justice, wisdom, and humility.”
Now more than ever, we need to ensure that how we treat each other and care for our communities is informed by our values.
As Furman prepares for its third century, I am grateful to all of the members of our community who helped us to refocus our Vision, Mission and Values and to all who help us live and realize them. Please join me in recommitting ourselves to this noble endeavor.