Furman University Oral Histories

Streaming Media


Video interview with Tom Hartness, Furman Trustee Emeritus. Mr. Hartness served on the board of trustees at Furman for over forty years, including several terms as chair. Furman awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1972. Mr. Hartness begins this 2004 interview telling about his background, how he came to Greenville, SC, and started his business. He tells how he became interested in Furman through his friendship with Furman Coach Lyles Alley. He remembers President Plyler asking him to serve on the board, the groundbreaking of the new Furman campus, and discusses the relationship between Greenville and Furman right after Furman's move from downtown. Mr. Hartness speaks about President Plyler, Alester Furman, and Dean Cain during those years, and tells of money raising campaigns in the early years of the new campus. He praises Bea Plyler for her involvement in the development of the new campus, as well as Dr. Frank Bonner for his work for Furman. Mr. Hartness discusses his time on the search committee for President Blackwell and President Johns, and shares anecdotes about Dr. John's hiring and from his long friendship with Dr. Johns. He concludes the interview talking about Furman's split with the SC Southern Baptist Convention, the accomplishments of President Johns, and the change in Furman since the 50's.

Scholarship Type

Faculty Scholarship

Publication Date


City and State

Greenville (S.C.)


Furman University; History; Oral histories; College trustees




Copyright Furman University Department of History. Materials are intended for non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, and are not to be reproduced or distributed without written permission. In compliance with fair use, whenever items are used for personal use, research, or teaching, please credit as follows: 'Furman University, Department of History'.

Tom Hartness Oral History

Included in

History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.