Furman's administrative operations are managed under the leadership of twelve senior administrators. Covering everything from athletics and student housing to admission and the university's budget, these administrations help execute Furman's strategic plan and goals.
Director of Athletics
Mike Buddie is entering his third year as the Director of Athletics at Furman, a Division 1 Southern Conference program which sponsors 20 Varsity Sport teams.
Prior to his arrival in Greenville, Mike was the Senior Associate Athletic Director at his alma mater, Wake Forest. During his tenure at Wake Forest, Mike supervised Men's and Women's Golf, Women's Soccer, Baseball, Strategic Communications, Capital Projects, Sports Performance and many other areas. His leadership opportunities included being a member of the NCAA D1 Baseball Committee, the ACC Women's Basketball Committee as well as Chairing the ACC Baseball Committee.
Mike attended Wake Forest on a baseball scholarship after a stellar high school career at St. Ignatius in Cleveland, Ohio. While at Wake Forest, Mike set the single season record for strike outs which still stands today. After three successful seasons on the mound at Wake Forest, Mike was selected in the 1992 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees and decided to become a professional. Mike would spend the next 13 seasons in professional baseball earning Major League time with both the New York Yankees (1998-99) and Milwaukee Brewers (2000-2002). Elbow surgery in 2003 ended his playing days. He then returned to Wake Forest to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in 2004, and then began his career in Collegiate Athletics.
To learn more, visit the Athletics website.
Vice President for Student Life
Connie Carson, vice president for student life, joined
the university in 2008. She previously served as assistant vice
president of campus services and planning at Wake Forest University.
During her tenure at Wake Forest, Carson served as the associate director of residence life and housing and executive director of residential services. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Carson holds a master of education degree from North Carolina State and a master of business administration from Wake Forest.
To learn more, visit the division of student life website.
Vice President for University Communications
Tom Evelyn joined Furman as Vice President for University Communications in August 2016. As chief communications officer, he is responsible for the university’s various communications platforms as well as envisioning the message and strategic positioning for Furman.
Before coming to Furman, Evelyn spent two years as Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing at the University of Florida. His higher education experience includes serving as Vice President for Communications at St. Lawrence University, where he was responsible for all communications and marketing for the university and the management of its National Public Radio affiliate, North Country Public Radio (WSLU-FM). He previously served as Senior Director of News and Media Relations at Bucknell University and Interim Assistant Vice President and Associate Director of News and Information at the University of Central Florida.
Before joining the higher education community, Evelyn spent 10 years working as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Florida and Georgia. He also served as a cryptologist in the U.S. Navy while stationed in Spain and aboard ships on mission in the Mediterranean Sea.
Evelyn graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a philosophy minor and earned a master’s degree in communication from the University of Central Florida, where he also guest lectured in journalism and public relations.
To learn more, visit the University Communications website.
Vice President for Development
Mike Gatchell, vice president for development, joined the university in 2006 as executive director of development, and became vice president in 2007. He previously served as director of the alumni association and director of major gifts at Furman from 1996 to 1999, followed by five years as senior account manager at Blackbaud, Inc., where he was a consultant for numerous fundraising organizations.
Gatchell earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Furman in 1991 and a master of business administration from Clemson University.
To learn more, visit the Development website.
Meredith E. Green ’05 joined Furman University as general counsel in October 2017. Green came to Furman from the firm of McGuireWoods LLP in Charlotte, where she practiced primarily in the area of higher education law. In her previous role, Green regularly counseled clients on issues related to Title IX and sexual misconduct, FERPA and other privacy and confidentiality laws and standards. She was also part of a team that taught the Higher Education Practicum at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Green co-authored “The Impact of the May 2013 Montana ‘Blueprint’ on the Sexual Harassment-Related Obligations of Colleges and Universities,” published by the National Association of College and University Attorneys. For three consecutive years (2015-17), Green was named a “North Carolina Rising Star” by Super Lawyers (Thompson Reuters). In 2012, she received the McGuireWoods Firmwide Pro Bono Award.
Green majored in psychology and French at Furman, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2010, where she was executive editor of the Wake Forest Law Review and member of the law honor society Order of the Coif.
W. Michael Hendricks
Vice President for Enrollment Management
W. Michael Hendricks, vice president for enrollment management, joined the University in 2015.
Dr. Hendricks brings more than two decades of sustained achievement, and a professional commitment to advancing the practices and collaborative nature of the enrollment management profession to Furman University.
Prior to joining the university, he served as Vice President for Enrollment Management at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., was the Dean of Admissions at Widener University in Chester, P.A., and held various positions in enrollment management areas at Fairleigh Dickinson University in N.J., where he also served as an assistant football coach.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Lehigh University, where he was a member of the varsity football team, and earned a master of arts in teaching from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a doctorate in education from Widener University. Several of his scholarly articles have been published in various enrollment management and admissions journals.
Chief Diversity Officer
Michael E. Jennings was appointed as Furman University’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer in July 2017. A Philadelphia native, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University as well as a master’s and doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first faculty appointment was in the Department of Education at Tufts University. Following this, he held appointments at Johns Hopkins University and the Catholic University of America.
In 2004, Jennings became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He was appointed as the Director of African-American Studies in 2008 and was tenured during that same year. In 2012, he became an Associate Dean in the College of Education & Human Development. In this capacity, he oversaw the Consortium for Social Transformation, an administrative unit that oversaw ethnic and women’s studies programs and which promoted inter-disciplinary scholarship, teaching and service that emphasized issues of diversity, equity and social justice.
As Furman’s Chief Diversity Officer, Jennings facilitates the support of structures that advance diversity and equity within campus units while collaborating across campus and with surrounding communities. Additionally, Jennings also serves as a tenured full professor in the Department of Education at Furman, where his research focuses on cultural and racial diversity in education. He continues to conduct research and recently co-edited the book Critical Storytelling in Uncritical Times: Undergraduate Share Their Stories in Higher Education.
Mary Lou Merkt
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Mary Lou Merkt, Vice President for Finance and Administration, came to Furman in 2003 from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where she served as vice president for finance and administration. She began her career in higher education at her alma mater, Radford University (Va.), serving as director of internal audit, director of financial services, and later, assistant vice president for finance.
Merkt is a certified public accountant and holds both a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master of business administration degree. She currently seres as board chair of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
To learn more, visit the Finance and Administration website.
Dean of Faculty
Kenneth D. Peterson is the Dean of Faculty and the John D. Hollingsworth, Jr., Professor of Economics. He joined the Furman economics faculty in 1990 and chaired the department for twelve years. As Dean of Faculty he is responsible for the faculty, academic departments, interdisciplinary minors, and the units that support all undergraduate programs. His teaching interests include microeconomic theory, urban economics, population economics, environmental economics, and research methods in economics. He is particularly fond of introducing students to economic ideas in the introduction to economics course.
An outstanding teacher and mentor, Professor Peterson was the recipient of the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching. His recent research interests have been in the areas of hedonic house pricing, parking policies and environmental impacts, and social capital. Professor Peterson has also supervised numerous undergraduate research projects through the Economics Department’s summer research program.
Peterson received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his B.S. in economics from Iowa State University. His research examines the extent to which property values are affected by environmental and neighborhood traits, the causes and consequences of varying social capital levels within neighborhoods, the economics of higher education, and the economics of college athletics. He is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class XXI.
Chief of Staff, Liaison to the Board of Trustees
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Liz Seman has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, since 1999. Her nonprofit career has included leadership roles with the American Red Cross, Hands on Greenville and Meals on Wheels. She came to Furman University in 2013 as the Executive Director of Corporate Engagement, and currently serves as Chief of Staff and Liaison to the Board of Trustees. She is chair of the board of directors of the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center (SC-TAC) and immediate past-chair of Meals on Wheels America. She is an active member of the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum and Greenville Women Giving. She is also a member of the Board of the Community Foundation of Greenville.
Liz is a member of Greenville County Council, first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 to represent District 24. She currently chairs the Public Works Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee.
Liz has served on the board of directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Forward, the Junior League of Greenville, Saint Joseph’s Catholic School, the Leadership Greenville Alumni Association, the Palmetto Bank Community Board, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority Board, Community Works Carolina and the Advisory Board of the American Red Cross. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class XXVII and Diversity Leadership Academy Class IV. She was one of the YWCA Dream Achievers in 2006 and was named one of Greenville's Top 25 under 35 in 2003. She is also an Elder at Fourth Presbyterian Church.
Liz received her B.S. in Marketing from Miami of Ohio.
George C. Shields
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost
George C. Shields joined Furman as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost on July 1, 2016. As chief academic officer, he is responsible for the faculty and related administrative departments that support all undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.
A national leader in undergraduate research, Shields has collaborated with over 110 undergraduates in meaningful projects in the fields of computational chemistry, structural biochemistry and science education. His most current research involves using computational methods to gain insights into biochemistry and environmental chemistry.
Since 1990, Shields has received approximately $6 million in external research grants from many foundations and funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 80 scientific and six educational papers since 1983, including 52 scientific papers with 59 undergraduates working in his research group since 1991
Shields previously served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Bucknell University, and was a professor in the department of chemistry, from 2010-2016. Prior to that he served as the founding dean of the College of Science and Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., where he was also a professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Prior to that, Shields served as the Winslow professor of chemistry and chair of the department at Hamilton College, and in various faculty and administrative posts at Lake Forest College. Since 2000, Shields has served as director of MERCURY, or the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry, a collaboration of 27 undergraduate research teams at 25 different institutions. He organizes the annual MERCURY conferences each summer.
Shields received the 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and he currently serves on the executive board of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). He has also been elected three times as a CUR Councilor, is a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar, and serves on the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry editorial advisory board.
Shields received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral research on protein-DNA interactions at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.
Associate Vice President for Information Technology
David Steinour, Associate Vice President for Information Technology (IT), is an accomplished IT professional with more than 34 years of IT experience in a variety of positions and organizations. He has experience in ERP development, enterprise-level infrastructure systems, data center management, mainframe and client-server development, strategic planning, network infrastructure, project management and business re-engineering.
Mr. Steinour's past positions include chief information officer at George Washington University, vice provost of information technology and other senior positions at Gettysburg College, director of networking and information services at Mount Saint Mary's University and various IT positions at Westinghouse Electric, Inc.
In his current position as Associate Vice President for the Furman University, he is responsible for implementing a range of strategic technology initiatives and for building a shared vision for the university's IT future. In addition, Mr. Steinour leads his staff in developing solutions to the daily IT challenges facing a top-tier university with more than 4000 users. Mr. Steinour manages by mentoring and motivating employees, envisioning innovative solutions to business challenges and effectively managing and executing IT strategies. He has received a number of IT awards, including Washington SmartCEO's SmartCXO Award, Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders award and CIO.com's CIO 100 Award, and he is a member of a number of user groups and councils in addition to serving on the EDUCAUSE Regional Planning Committee. Additionally, Mr. Steinour authored "Strategies for Maximizing Impact," a chapter from within the book Inside the Minds. He holds a B.S. from Mount Saint Mary's University and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland University College.