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The old campus of Furman University, prior to its relocation under the presidency of John Laney Plyler.
This temple was transported from Nagoya to Furman University in 2004, under the presidency of David Shi.
  • 1. James Clement Furman was elected the first president of Furman University in 1859. He served for twenty years, until 1879. His grave at the Springwood Cemetery in Greenville states: "For 46 years he labored in the cause of Christian Education".[1]
  • 2. Charles Manly served as president from 1859 to 1879. He was a Baptist minister. Manly Hall (built in 1956) is named after him. He is credited for allowing the campus to become more residential, in contrast to previous administrators who did not favor dormitories.[2]
  • 3. Andrew Philip Montague was president for five years, from 1897 to 1902. While his two predecessors were involved in Christian life prior to being presidents, Montague was dean at Columbia University.
  • 4. Charles Hallette Judson was Acting President over a year, from 1902 to 1903. Prior to this, he was president of the Greenville Woman's College.
  • 5. Edwin McNeill Poteat strengthened the university in many ways during his fifteen years presidency, from 1903 to 1918. He encouraged the recruiting of faculty with advanced degrees, including the first PhD to be hired at Furman, Sidney Ernest Bradshaw.
  • 6. After the previous president resigned to pursue mission work in China, Sidney Ernest Bradshaw became interim president for one year (1918-1919) while the board of trustees prepared to hire the next president.
  • 7. William Joseph McGlothlin, a professor of church history, came from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminar in 1919 to serve as President at Furman, where he remained in this post until 1933.[3] (1919-1933)
  • 8. Bennette Eugene Geer, also known as 'Ben Geer', became president in 1933. His friendship with James Buchanan Duke was instrumental to name Furman as a beneficiary of the Duke Endowment. In the terms of the endowment, Furman was referred to as "that little college located in Greenville that Ben Geer is such a fool about".[4] Geer was a graduate of Furman, and as such, the first Furman graduate to assume the presidency. Financial support progressed under Geer's presidency, echoing his own times when he was able to afford education at Furman in part thanks to living in the house of then president Manly. His presidency ended in 1938.
  • 9. Robert Norman Daniel was Acting President during the remainder of the year 1938.
  • 10. John Laney Plyler oversaw a transformation of Furman during a long lasting presidency of 25 years, from 1939 to 1964. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University, and was trained at the Harvard Law School. Under his presidency, land was bought for the new campus and Furman moved from downtown Greenville to its current location.
  • 11. Gordon Williams Blackwell, was the president of Florida State University, who then came as the new President of Furman in 1965. His interest in excellence by national standards contributed to start the transformation of Furman as a higher education institute of national stature, as it is still categorized today (among national liberal arts universities). His term ended after ten years, in 1976.
  • 12. John Edwin Johns, was president of Furman from 1976 to 1994. He had a distinguished military career with several military honors (e.g., Flying Cross, Air Medal) and flew 35 combat missions in Europe during World War II aboard a B-17 aircraft. A graduate of Furman, he received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina. After a long academic career at Stetson University culminating in its presidency, he joined Furman as president and grew the university's endowment tenfold through capital campaigns.[5]
  • 13. David Emory Shi, a historian, author and champion of sustainability, served as the university’s president from 1994 to 2010.[6] He highlighted some of his accomplishments as "faculty salaries improved dramatically, the endowment quadrupled, the academic profile of the student body rose, and the campus benefited from more than $210 million in new construction and renovation".[7]
  • 14. Rodney A. Smolla, a nationally known lawyer, held the presidency for three years, from 2010 to 2013. After personal reasons, he stepped down from the post and described Furman as "one of the gems of American higher education", for which he is remembered for a continued growth of application for admissions and the endowment.[8]
  • 15. Carl F. Kohrt was Interim President for a year, from 2013 to 2014.
  • 16. Elizabeth Davis became Furman’s President on July 1, 2014. Davis came to Furman from Baylor University in Texas, where she was Executive Vice President and Provost.[9] The Furman Advantage was launched under her presidency.

Notable alumniEdit


Arts and theatreEdit

Academics, writers, journalist, literature, and publishersEdit


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  1. ^ Rev James Clement Furman, Memorial.
  2. ^ Courtney L. Tollison, Furman University. Arcadia Publishing, 2004. pp.25
  3. ^ Carl Wilkinson, The Life and Work of William Joseph McGlothlin, Ph.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980.
  4. ^ Courtney L. Tollison, Furman University. Arcadia Publishing, 2004. pp.27
  5. ^ Obituary of John Jones. The Greenville News on Sept. 28, 2007.
  6. ^ "Furman University's Presidents". 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  7. ^ David E. Shi: Bio.
  8. ^ Ron Barnett, Smolla surprises Furman by resignation. The State, May 08, 2013.
  9. ^ "President Elizabeth Davis | Office of the President | University Leadership | About Furman | Furman University". Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  10. ^ "The Cliffs Cottage". Retrieved 2010-01-05.
  11. ^ Bishop, Elizabeth. "Bio of Elizabeth Bishop -- The Metropolitan Opera". Our Artists. Metropolitan Opera. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
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  21. ^ Yik Yak
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  23. ^ Yik Yak
  24. ^ "Max Heller Biography". Furman University. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  25. ^ Rhodes, Lisa R. (April 1, 2011). "Division commander settles into new job". Washington, DC.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  26. ^ Furman

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