Furman University is a selective, independent, coeducational liberal arts college of 2,700 students located at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains on a 750-acre campus in Greenville, South Carolina. Furman provides a distinctive undergraduate education encompassing the humanities, fine arts, social sciences, mathematics and the natural sciences, and selected professional disciplines. Furman emphasizes engaged learning, a problem-solving, project-oriented and research-based educational philosophy that encourages students to put into practice the theories and methods learned from texts or lectures. The university is committed to liberal learning within a moral and ethical context.
Furman University is named for Richard Furman (1755-1825), a prominent pastor in Charleston, South Carolina, who was president of the nation’s first Baptist Convention and a leader in Baptist higher education.
The university traces its roots to two academies established in the early nineteenth century: the Greenville Female Academy, a part of the Greenville Academy, was chartered in 1820; the Furman Academy and Theological Institution for men was founded in 1826 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention in Edgefield, South Carolina.
During its early decades, the Furman Academy moved first to Stateburg, then to Winnsboro, South Carolina. In 1850, the school was chartered as Furman University and moved to Greenville. Eight years later its theological department became the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which eventually moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Between 1920 and 1932 the university included a law school, but for most of its history Furman has operated as a liberal arts college. In 1854, the Greenville Baptist Female College opened on the campus of the Greenville Academy. It was governed by Furman’s board of trustees until 1908, when it acquired its own board. In 1916, it became the Greenville Woman’s College.
Furman was accredited in 1924 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and during that same year the university became a beneficiary of The Duke Endowment established by James Buchanan Duke. In 1933, Furman and the Greenville Woman’s College were coordinated under a single president and board.
Furman broke ground for a new campus five miles north of Greenville in 1953, and five years later held its first classes on the present site. Furman received a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1973. In 1992, formal ties with the South Carolina Baptist Convention ended, and the university became independent. Today, Furman University is among the leading liberal arts institutions in the nation.
The primary mission of Furman as a liberal arts institution is to provide a distinctive undergraduate education encompassing humanities, fine arts, social sciences, mathematics and the natural sciences, and selected professional disciplines. In addition to its primary emphasis on undergraduate education, Furman offers graduate programs in education and chemistry. The university also provides a continuing education program for the larger Greenville community. At the heart of the undergraduate program are the general education requirements. The requirements ensure that all undergraduates will be introduced to the major methods of inquiry that characterize liberal study. In accordance with the traditional assumptions of liberal education, both out-of-class and in-class experiences are designed to develop the whole person - intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Furman seeks highly motivated students with inquisitive minds, varied perspectives, a sense of personal integrity and moral responsibility with the potential to be leaders and to make future contributions to society.
Founded by Baptists and grounded in Judeo- Christian values, Furman challenges students, faculty, and staff to grow both in knowledge and in faith. The university values excellent teaching and close student-faculty relationships. Small classes, individual instruction, empathetic advising, and personal attention promote active learning and cultivate intellectual curiosity. The university encourages its students to engage ethical issues and to explore spiritual concerns. Furman manifests its respect for the ethical and spiritual dimensions of human experience in many ways. Within the curriculum, these dimensions are often integral to academic disciplines and form the basis for classroom discussions. Outside the classroom, the ethical and spiritual dimensions are expressed in an active chaplaincy and a program in church-related vocations, an array of vital student religious organizations, and a nationally recognized community service program.
Furman aspires to be a diverse community of women and men of different races, religions, geographic origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, personal characteristics, and interests. This diversity reflects values the university hopes to embody: openness, honesty, tolerance and mutual respect, civic responsibility, global awareness, and bold intellectual inquiry. These values foster a critical examination of inherited assumptions, even as they protect freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. In sum, Furman University aspires to be a diverse community of learning, harmonious in its differences, just and compassionate in its transactions, and steadfast in its commitment to an educational program of the highest quality.
It is the desire of Furman University to unite its members in a collective commitment to integrity. In so doing, Furman University strives to teach its members to live lives of humility, respect, and responsibility. Therefore, it is the expectation that all members of the Furman University community will conduct themselves with integrity in all endeavors. In honoring these values and ideals as Furman University’s foundation, it is with the utmost faithfulness and dignity that I will subscribe to them.
An Engaged Approach to Liberal Learning
Furman University enriches traditional liberal arts education by offering students an array of opportunities to learn by doing. While grounding its curriculum in the humanities, fine arts, and sciences, Furman offers courses in fields that are more professionally oriented: business administration, accounting, education, health sciences, and music performance. In addition, Furman emphasizes education outside the traditional classroom, providing opportunities for students to put into practice the theories and methods learned from texts or lectures. For example, Furman has become a national leader in undergraduate research and collaborative research projects involving students and professors. Engaged learning takes additional forms at Furman. A significant number of Furman students participate in internships. Others serve as teaching apprentices on campus or in elementary and secondary schools. A large number enroll in study away programs sponsored by the university while many work as volunteers for social service agencies or other helping programs in the Greenville community. For many Furman students, these out-of-class opportunities become life-changing experiences. By supplementing classroom instruction with opportunities for collaborative research and off campus learning, Furman aims to give students greater responsibility for their education, to develop their self-confidence, and to sharpen their leadership skills.
The Furman Curriculum
Furman nurtures a commitment to independent thought and lifelong learning. By providing students with a broad exposure to the liberal arts, it seeks to produce graduates grounded in the traditional sources of knowledge yet capable of devising new solutions to problems in their chosen field. At the core of Furman’s educational mission, the curriculum is dedicated to the following ideals of liberal learning:
- Invigoration and stimulation of intellectual curiosity,
- Broad preparation in a diverse set of disciplines, including the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the fine arts,
- Intellectual inquiry in sufficient depth to allow one to contribute to a greater body of knowledge;
- Development of expressive capabilities in writing, speaking, and the arts,
- Cultivation of world citizenship-an understanding of those not like oneself, and
- Integration of knowledge into a meaningful synthesis.
Furman University is accredited by the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Furman University.
The commission requests contact only be initiated if evidence of significant non-compliance with accreditation requirements or standards exists. Requests about the normal and routine operation of the university should be directed to appropriate university offices.
Furman is a member of the Southern University Conference, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and South Carolina Association of Colleges, and is on the approved list of the American Chemical Society. The program in music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The Teacher Education Program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Campus and Buildings
Furman University is situated in the scenic Carolina foothills, only five miles from Greenville, which offers the advantages of a city with a metropolitan population of nearly 500,000.
Since 1958, Furman has occupied a beautifully designed 750 acre campus with a 30 acre lake. A rose garden, Asian garden and many fountains add to the beauty of the campus.
Most of the major buildings on campus are faced with handmade Virginia brick and many have columned porches adding a traditional architectural flavor to the latest in educational facilities.
First to be noted by visitors is McAlister Auditorium, site of many university and community sponsored performances. Adjoining it, the Homozel M. Daniel Music Building provides studios and performance rooms for Furman’s noted music department. Nearby, the Thomas Anderson Roe Art Building has a gallery for traveling exhibits and facilities for multimedia art instruction.
James C. Furman Hall, recently renovated, contains classrooms, seminar rooms, and departmental offices for the humanities and a television studio. Other academic buildings surrounding the fountain adorned Milford Mall include John E. Johns Hall, housing facilities for a variety of social science disciplines, Richard W. Riley Hall home to the computer science, economics and mathematics departments, and over 200,000 square feet of classrooms, laboratories, and other space dedicated to effective teaching and learning in the new state-of-the-art Charles H. Townes Center for Science.
The campus also includes, the LEED green building certified, Herman N. Hipp Hall, an academic building; the Cherrydale Alumni House, the reclaimed home of the university’s first president, James Clement Furman; North Village, an apartment style residential complex; the Hartness Welcome Center for campus visitors and prospective students; the Younts Conference Center; and the Herring Center for Continuing Education.
The Furman University Libraries consist of the James B. Duke Library, the Maxwell Music Library, and the Science Library. The James B. Duke Library, located at the center of campus, was constructed in 1957. Expanded and renovated in 2004, the library includes group study rooms, media viewing rooms, and a 24-hour study and computing area. The Maxwell Music Media Center and Library brings together print, audio, and digital music resources in a facility built in 1998. Located in the Nan Trammell Herring Music Pavilion, this facility includes individual listening and viewing stations, a computer lab with MIDI capabilities at each station, and a multimedia seminar room. The Science Library in the Townes Center was completed in August 2008. It houses specialized journals in the natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, and physics.
A landmark of the campus is the Bell Tower, a gift from the family of Alester Garden Furman and replica of the tower of the Main Building on the former men’s campus in downtown Greenville. Its 48-bell carillon honors the late John Edwards Burnside, class of 1917. The Trone Student Center serves as a hub of student activities, complete with a Barnes & Noble bookstore, Starbuck’s, post office, food court, and meeting rooms while the Charles E. Daniel Dining Hall provides student, faculty, staff and visitors to campus a healthy variety of dining options. The Herman W. Lay Physical Activities Center provides for an extensive curriculum in health sciences, as well as a full program of recreational and intramural sports.
The university’s commitment to intercollegiate athletic excellence is clearly evident in its physical plant as well, which features several new or renovated athletic facilities, including Pepsi Softball Stadium; Timmons Arena, the home court for the Furman men’s and women’s basketball teams; the Irwin Belk Complex for Track & Field; the REK Center for Intercollegiate Golf ; Minor Herndon Mickel Tennis Center; Eugene Stone III Soccer Stadium; Alley Gymnasium, the home for Furman women’s volleyball program; and Paladin Football Stadium. Finally, Furman sports one of the nation’s finest on-campus golf courses, a nationally recognized cross country course, and the recently upgraded Latham Baseball Stadium nestled in one of the most pleasing settings in the Southern Conference.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
Furman University is committed to providing equal access to its educational programs, activities, and facilities to all otherwise qualified students without discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other category protected by applicable state or federal law. An equal opportunity employer, Furman also affirms its commitment to nondiscrimination in its employment policies and practices. In compliance with Title IX (20 U.S.C Sec. 1681 et seq.) Furman University prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. For student related disability discrimination concerns, contact the Student Office for Accessibility Resources, 864-294-2320, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613. Title IX concerns should be directed to Connie L. Carson, Vice President for Student Life, at 864-294-2202, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613.