Furman University Oral Histories

Streaming Media


Audio recording of an interview with retired Furman Chaplain, Jim Pitts. Jim Pitts graduated Furman in 1960, came back as Assistant Chaplain in 1967, became the Chaplain in 1981, and retired in 2003. Chaplain Pitts talks about his early memories of Greenville, SC, and mentions Dr. David Ramsay, Greenville Woman's College president. He talks about what led him to attend Furman, life as a student in the 1950's, getting married as a Furman student, and the relationship between the Greenville Woman's College and Furman. Chaplain Pitts speaks of his time as Assistant Chaplain and Chaplain at Furman, highlighting big issues like the first social dance on campus, integration, race relations, the SSOC, Student Protest Era, Vietnam and the draft lottery. He speaks of the Furman Civil Rights Tour, and hosting Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, and Benjamin Mays. Chaplain Pitts praises Betty Alverson, founder of Furman's CESC, and retired faculty member Tom Cloer. He goes into detail discussing Joe Vaughn, Furman's first African American undergraduate student. He also gives details about the separation between Furman and the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and working with President Johns during that time. He closes the interview discussing his concerns for Furman's future and identity, his retirement, and his hope for Furman's future.

Scholarship Type

Faculty Scholarship

Publication Date


City and State

Greenville (S.C.)


Furman University; History; Oral histories; College chaplains; Alumni and alumnae




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Jim Pitts Oral History

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