A.V. Huff and Courtney Tollison
Video interview with A.V. Huff, former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean, and Professor of History at Furman University. Dr. Huff begins the interview talking about growing up in Columbia, SC, and his education at Wofford College, Yale Divinity School, and Duke University, where he received his Ph.D. in History. He began teaching History at Furman in 1968, living in the dorm as a new faculty member. Dr. Huff speaks of Furman during the turbulent times of the late 60's and early 70's. He touches on race relations, Betty Alverson and the start of the Collegiate Educational Service Corps (now Heller Service Corps), the Wesley Foundation during those years, the SSOC (Southern Student Organizing Committee), and the activism on campus. Dr. Huff talks about former Furman Presidents Gordon Blackwell and John Johns, as well as Deans, Francis Bonner and John Crabtree, and long time assistant to five Furman Deans, Peggy Park. Other highlights of the interview are Dr. Huff discussing Furman's split with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the curriculum change from the semester system to a trimester with a winter term, the beginning of Furman's Foreign Study program, and the relationship with the city of Greenville and Furman over the years.
Beatrice Plyler and Courtney Tollison
Audio recording of an interview with Beatrice Plyler (1911-2011), widow of former Furman president, John Laney Plyler. Mrs. Plyler talks about her family and growing up in Berkeley County, SC, as well as meeting her future husband, and their marriage in 1932. She discusses the early years of her marriage, anecdotes of John Plyler as a husband and father, daily life, and a few things President Plyler shared with her about his childhood and family. Mentioned by Beatrice in the interview are Judge Clement Haynsworth, Alester Furman, Jr., and Charles and Mickey Daniel. Mrs. Plyler discusses, in depth, the building of the new Furman campus, from choosing the property, meeting with architects, and picking out colors and furniture. She talks of how she and John were influenced by a trip to France and England, and how seeing the beautiful gardens, lakes, and fountains gave them ideas for the new Furman campus.
Betty Alverson and Courtney Tollison
A video interview with Betty Alverson, the founder of the Collegiate Educational Service Corps (CESC), what is today known as the Heller Service Corps, at Furman University. She also was the first director of the Student Center at Furman. In her 2004 interview, she shares memories of being a Furman student in the 1950's, and the faculty and staff that meant so much to her, like Laura Ebaugh, Winston Babb, Maguerite Chiles, Junius Gladney, and Dr. Olivia Futch. Betty speaks about returning to Furman in 1965 and becoming director of the new Watkins Student Center. She speaks in detail about CESC, and also talks about the beginning of May Day Play Day and other programs like Film Arts, Talk a Topic, Values Dinners, and Dialogue. She shares memories of the turbulent times in the 60's and 70's, and some controversial matters of that time, like dancing on campus, etc. Betty speaks about working with Furman Presidents Gordon Blackwell and John Johns, as well as Chaplain L. D. Johnson, and Dean of Students, Ernest Harrill. She also spends a portion of the interview talking about Furman's split with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Betty Durham Owens and Courtney Tollison
Betty Durham Owens, born in 1934, grew up near Furman's old campus in downtown Greenville, and in this 2004 oral history audio, she shares some of her memories associated with Furman. She talks about playing on the old campus as a child, roller skating in front of the library, going into the Bell Tower, as well as the beauty of Furman during that time. She mentions "the Plyler boys," and remembers the house of their father, President John Plyler. Betty married a Furman student, and she discusses life in married-student housing at Furman in the 1950's. Betty talks about her love for Furman football, she mentions Vince Peone, and also describes being at the basketball game when Furman's Frank Selvy scored 100 points, as well as the feelings of joy and pride on campus, and in the community, after the game. Betty speaks of her long lasting Furman friends and relationships with Furman professors, and her continued love for Furman and Furman athletics.
Carl Clausen and Courtney Tollison
A video interview with Carl Clausen, the 2004 Belltower Award Recipient. Mr. Clausen was the Resident Engineer and Director of Planning and Construction at Furman University from 1955 to 1983. Thirty One structures were built at Furman under his direction. The video begins with a walking tour with Mr. Clausen. He explains the layout and design of the Furman campus. Carl talks about the construction of Furman's new campus, and campus life at that time. He speaks of the master plan, and how Dr. Plyler wanted a "Williamsburg, walking campus," so a Colonial Style was used. He explains how parts from the downtown campus were used in the construction of certain areas on the new Furman campus. Carl explains why Furman needed to move from downtown Greenville. He shares the story of how he got the job at Furman, as well as anecdotes from his job interview and first meeting President John Plyer. Mr. Clausen gives a detail account of how the Bell Tower on Furman's Lake was constructed. He personally climbed the old Bell Tower on the downtown campus to record it's exact dimensions because the original plans did not exist. He talks about the decision to put the replica on the penninsula at the Furman Lake, how he did the surveying and layout, and gives details of the construction process. Mr. Clausen finishes the interview briefly speaking about the construction of the Student Center in the 1960's.
Charles Townes and Courtney Tollison
Video interview with Dr. Charles Townes, Nobel Prize winning American physicist, and inventor of the maser and laser. Dr. Townes graduated Furman in 1935. He begins his interview talking about what he considers to be his greatest accomplishments, what inspires him, and how he would like to be remembered. Dr. Townes speaks of his childhood in Greenville, SC, and his interest in science as a boy. He explains how it was at Furman that he decided to study Physics. He mentions Physics Professor Hiden Cox as one of his favorite Furman professors. Dr. Townes briefly speaks of life during the Great Depression. He talks of going to the California Institute of Technology, taking classes under Oppenheimer, and later working with Bell Labs during World War II on radar bombing systems. Dr. Townes talks in detail about his work with NASA during the Space Race, and the first landing on the moon. He speaks of the Cold War, and his time advising President Reagan on the MX Missle. Dr. Townes shares memories of Furman, studying science, modern languages, the band, and swimming. He briefly talks about what he is involved in at the time of this interview, traveling to Pakistan and Germany, meeting with other scientists. Dr. Townes finishes the interview discussing his thoughts on faith, religion, and science, and the relation between them.
Ed Jones and Courtney Tollison
Video interview of Dr. Ed Jones, 1954 Furman graduate, history professor, and first Department Chair of the Asian Studies Department at Furman. Dr. Jones begins by giving his history, growing up in Saluda County, going into the Marine Corps, and afterwards, starting Furman in 1949. He descibes the old Furman campus, downtown Greenville, and talks of the history courses he took as a student. Dr. Jones speaks about graduate school and his first teaching job, and how he came back to Furman to become a professor. He shares memories of President John Plyler, and a few anecdotes. Dr. Jones gives details of Furman's development of Asian history courses. He mentions Dr. Frank Bonner, and the development of Furman's faculty over the years, talks about the development of the foreign study program and the Asian Studies Department. Dr. Jones briefly talks about integration at Furman, and President Blackwell and Dr. Bonner during that time. He also discusses the growing diversity of Greenville, SC, throughout his years at Furman.
Elizabeth Peace Stall and Courtney Tollison
Video interview of Elizabeth Peace Stall, Furman Trustee and Founding President of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. Mrs. Stall begins speaking about growing up in Greenville, SC. She gives a brief family history and speaks about their business in the newspaper, radio, and television industry. Her father went to Furman in the late 1920's, and she talks about the scholarships her family has given to Furman. Mrs. Stall gives details of the development of the Peace Center, talks about her involvement in community development, St. Francis Hospital , PTA's, and gives details of her involvement with the desegregation of the Greenville County Schools. Mrs. Stall speaks of her time serving as a trustee for Furman, Hollins College, and Presbyterian College. She talks about her thoughts on Furman as a young girl, and Furman's relationship with the city of Greenville, how it was, and how it is currently, and talks about Max Heller and the development of the Greenville downtown area. She mentions Presidents David Shi, John Johns, and Gordon Blackwell, and talks about being a Furman Trustee and the issues she deals with at the university. Mrs. Stall closes the interview speaking about her involment in the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville, her father's love of Furman basketball, and attending the Furman game in 1954 when Frank Selvy scored 100 points.
Ernie Harrill and Courtney Tollison
Video interview with Dr. Ernie Harrill, former Dean of Students. Dr. Harrill taught Political Science at Furman from 1949 to 1983. In this brief interview he discusses his time at Furman, and gives some details on the installation of Furman's Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 1973. He talks about President John Plyler and Dean Francis Bonner, what they were like, and what it was like working with the two men.
Eugene Proctor and Courtney Tollison
Video interview with Dr. Eugene Proctor. Dr. Proctor attended Furman in the late 1930's, served as a Furman Trustee for 25 years, and served as Chairman of the Board for 6 of those. Dr. Proctor begins the interview talking about the inauguration of President Gordon Blackwell, as well as his close friendship with Dr. Blackwell. He reflects on his time as a Furman student, student life in the late 1930's, and President Geer's time as President. Dr. Proctor speaks about his time as a Furman Trustee, and issues such as on-campus dances, fraternities, desegregation, the Ford Foundation grant, and building the science building. He remembers Dean Robert Daniel, Professors Sumner Ives, and John Sampey. He talks about working with Herman Lay, Alester Furman Sr., and Alester Furman, Jr., the hiring of Dr. Gordon Blackwell as President, as well as what it was like working closley with President John Plyler. Dr. Proctor shares anecdotes of Dr. and Mrs. Gordon Blackwell, as he was very close, personal friends with both. He speaks of Dr. Blackwell's legacy, and closes the interview speaking of the arrival of Dr. John Johns, what Dr. John's was like as president of the university, and the differences between Dr. Johns and Dr. Blackwell.