Furman alumni donate $6.1 million to music department
Gordon Herring and Sarah Herring, Furman classes of 1965 and 1966, respectively, have pledged a gift of $6.1 million to the Furman Department of Music.The donation established the Herring Music Chair Endowment and the Herring Music Fellowship Fund. The couple’s gift continues a decades-long tradition of generosity to the department in terms of time, guidance and financial support. “We hope our gift will attract exceptional students who can be magnets to draw other talented musicians to Furman’s music programs,” Sarah Herring said. Both Sarah, a German major, and Gordon, a history major, were members of the Furman Singers when they were students, an experience that fostered a special bond with Furman’s music department. “Furman is exceptional for providing students with a rigorous liberal arts education,” Gordon Herring said. “We believe the other liberal arts are enhanced by music. Because we weren’t music majors, our experience with Furman Singers served to complete our liberal arts education.” Gordon was a telecommunications executive who helped launch The Weather Channel in 1982, while Sarah’s career was in senior management for telephone company operations.
The Herrings’ legacy of generosity to Furman includes a $1.8 million gift that led to the construction of the Herring Center for Lifelong Learning, and a $1.25 million donation that served as the lead investment for the Nan Trammell Herring Music Pavilion. Since the mid-1990s, the Herrings have provided Partner Scholarships, which support multiple music students each year. Gordon, an emeritus trustee, believes music speaks to the soul of the individual and thereby enriches the soul of the university, especially in these challenging times. Bingham Vick Jr., professor of music emeritus and director of the Furman Singers from 1970 to 2010, emphasizes the importance of the Herrings’ gift to the university in attracting gifted music students. “In recent years, rising costs of Furman, increased competition for musical talent with other quality collegiate music programs, and knowing the value and the importance of the cultural experience that a strong music department could offer to students and to the community, the Herrings have taken a bold and important step and investment in the Furman musical program,” Vick said. “I can attest to the importance and benefit Furman’s strong music program has had on the lives thousands of students. The Herring Fellowships now lead the way toward an even brighter future for the enrichment of the Furman experience.”