Former Furman president donates $500K to create more sustainability fellowships

Furman University’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability is a 3,400-square-foot building that has become a place where students, educators and community members can learn more about how to implement sustainability in their daily lives. The center is home to Sustainable Furman, a master plan designed to help the university adopt and enhance academic offerings in sustainability. Photo provided by Furman University.

Former Furman University President David E. Shi and his wife, Angela Halfacre Shi, have donated $500,000 to the university to create an endowed fund that will support student fellowships through the Shi Center for Sustainability.

The Student Sustainability Fellows Program supports Furman University’s undergraduate students who are focused on campus and community-based sustainability projects. The fellowships are open to all students no matter their major, according to Dr. Weston Dripps, executive director of the Shi Center.

The fellowship program is a primary focus of the Shi Center, which was established in 2008 to host research projects centered on sustainable food and farming, transportation, energy conservation, water quality and more, he added. To date, the program has supported 236 student fellows from various majors.

The new endowed fund will expand the fellowship program. “This timely and important gift will create even more quality experiences for Furman students who are interested in sustainability and who want to make a difference in the communities where they live,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis.

“The Shi Center Fellowships will also support The Furman Advantage, our new vision to transform the student experience and redefine a liberal arts and sciences education. We are grateful to both David and Angela for their extraordinary generosity and their commitment to the university,” she added.

Earlier this year, the university unveiled The Furman Advantage, an initiative that allows undergraduate students to work alongside faculty, staff, alumni and community members to address real-world problems across the Upstate. That means increased opportunities for campus and community-based projects and internships related to various programs, such as sustainability.

“Angela and I were eager to step up in support of President Davis’ recently announced strategic focus on The Furman Advantage, which ensures that every student has opportunities for engaged learning experiences, and the Shi Center Fellowships do just that,” David Shi said.

The increased opportunity for fellowships could also boost the university’s sustainability efforts, which have been widely recognized. Furman is the only liberal arts school in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in sustainability science.

The university recently received the 2016 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. In addition, the Princeton Review listed Furman University among the “Top 50 Green Colleges” in the country.

The donation to Furman University was made in honor of specific individuals who “have made extraordinary contributions to Furman and its commitment to sustainability over the years,” Shi said.

The Shi Center Sustainability Fellowships will be named for these individuals:

  • Carroll Rushing and Billie Cleveland
  • Judy Cromwell ’70
  • Richard Cullen ’71
  • David ’72 and Frances Ellison
  • James Grantham
  • Francie Heller
  • Carl ’65 and Lynne Kohrt
  • Jaime ’79 and Mary Anne Lanier ’79
  • Erwin Maddrey
  • Richard Robb
  • Todd Rupert
  • Frank ’61 and Susan Shaw
  • Minor Shaw
  • Tom Skains
  • Fred Stanback
  • Mary Sterling
  • Peace Sterling
  • Jim Thompson ’65


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