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Furman Board Approves Name Change, Statue to Honor First African-American Student

The Furman University Board of Trustees unanimously approved recommendations from the institution’s Special Committee on Slavery and Justice to rename James C. Furman Hall to Furman Hall and to create a statue and day of celebration to honor the first African American student, Joseph Vaughn.

Joseph Vaughn, the first African American to enroll at Furman. (Source: Furman University)Joseph Vaughn, the first African American to enroll at Furman. (Source: Furman University)

The soon-to-be-named Furman Hall honors and celebrates all Furman students, faculty, staff and alumni who have contributed to the university’s history, officials said. Furthermore, a collaborative of students, faculty and staff will work together to identify and launch an annual Joseph Vaughn commemorative day.

‚ÄúThe trustees are pleased to approve the recommendations made by the Special Committee on Slavery and Justice, which will guide Furman in fully acknowledging and sharing its history to foster a more inclusive future,‚ÄĚ said Alec Taylor, chair of the Board of Trustees. ‚ÄúThe university‚Äôs Task Force on Slavery and Justice is to be commended for the thoughtful and deliberate process that produced the ‚ÄėSeeking Abraham‚Äô report. I also want to thank the Special Committee of the board, chaired by trustee Baxter Wynn, for their work in reviewing the report, considering the recommendations contained therein, and making their recommendations to the board.‚ÄĚ

Board of Trustees members committed to issuing the lead gift to raise the Vaughn statue and to support other relevant projects. Additional recommendations the board approved include those to rename several other areas on campus for noted African Americans throughout Furman’s history, and another recommendation for a collaborative reviewing of the university’s mission, vision, values and motto in order to recommend any possible changes to the board for approval.

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