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Furman announces Black Alumni Council

The Furman Bell Tower.
The Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement is proud to announce the establishment of the Black Alumni Council. As Furman’s newest volunteer leadership organization, the Council will be guided by its mission to support both Black alumni and undergraduate students, while also providing critical feedback to university leadership. The group will advocate for and work to increase the involvement of Black alumni in the life of the university. In addition to the Black Alumni Council, we are excited to continue to grow and support the Furman University Black Alumni Association, an inclusive affinity group for all members of the Black alumni community.

The Black Alumni Council will assemble for an inaugural meeting this month, as the 2021-22 academic year commences. Erica Johnson ’07, of Greenville, South Carolina, will serve as the group’s first president. She is joined by 16 fellow volunteers, whose graduating class years range from 1971 to 2020.

“We have long desired to establish a bridge to connect Black alumni to each other, the university and current Black students,” said Johnson. “We look forward to connecting more students with alumni from their first moments on campus to the time they become members of our Black Alumni Association.”

Erica Johnson ’07.

The Black Alumni Council will support a variety of programming this fall for both students and alumni. During student orientation, the Council will host an on-campus lunch event for new and returning Black students, in the spirit of the SLBC Luau event that is fondly remembered by many alumni. In addition, Pastor Reggie Garrett ’98 and Jubilee Baptist Church will welcome all new Black students to their church that weekend.

Black Alumni Association programming will kick off with the Furman vs. NC A&T football game on Saturday, September 4.  Joseph Vaughn ’68, Furman’s first Black undergraduate student, attended NC A&T before transferring to Furman.

Earlier this year, Furman released its Strategic Diversity Plan, which expresses the university’s philosophy of inclusive excellence while laying out a set of common goals and objectives.

The Council will seek additional volunteers to increase membership over the next two years. The inaugural Black Alumni Council members include:

Osa Benson ’95
Venita Billingslea ’81
Justin Brown ’09
Rushia Brown ’94
Anna Copeland ’96
Lillian Brock Flemming ’71 M’75 H ’14 
Nicaella Fogle ’20
Reggie Garrett ’98
Idella Glenn ’84
Nalisha Henry ’06
Adrienne Johnson ’10
Larry Kerns ’00
Katherine Myers ’10
Sarah Reese ’71 H’14 
Rico Scott ’07
George Singleton ’84
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