Scholarships - Furman University Spotlight

Supporting Top Scholars at Four Area Schools

It's hard to catch Sally Morris with downtime on her hands.

A Furman University sophomore, she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, writes stories and shoots photos for a campus publication, works in the admissions office and plays an active role in a Catholic campus ministry. And she keeps up a 4.0 grand point average.

"I set high standards for myself," she says. "I hold myself to a strong work ethic."

James B. Duke Scholars Are High Achievers

Sally, 19, is among 55 students attending Furman on a James B. Duke Scholarship. Each year, the full-tuition award goes to high achievers from the Carolinas and beyond.

"These students are the cream of the crop," says Benny Walker, Furman's vice president for enrollment. "They're not only outstanding performers in the classroom, but leaders on campus."

The scholarships are part of The Duke Endowment's annual commitment to Furman, which has allowed the school to build landmark facilities, recruit talented faculty, encourage innovation — and attract top student scholars.

Cultivating Potential and Improving Communities

The Endowment's founder, James B. Duke, saw education as a way to cultivate potential and improve communities. He believed it should be made available to the most qualified students.

He named four schools in his Indenture of Trust: Furman, Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University and Duke University. At three of those schools, the Endowment has endowed the James B. Duke Scholarship.

There have been 217 James B. Duke Scholars to date, and more than $21 million has been awarded to fund the programs. Each school has discretion over how the scholarship is administered, but all the scholarships are based on outstanding academic performance.

"When we talk about the James B. Duke Scholarship, we often use the word ‘transforming,'" Walker says. "It opens the rich opportunities that you find at Furman for students who otherwise might miss out."

Sally Morris grew up in the town of Chester, S.C., in rural Chester County. In high school, she competed on academic teams and worked as yearbook editor. She placed first in an extemporaneous speaking competition and won numerous leadership awards. She volunteered in the public library, tutored elementary students and worked at the local drug store.

When it came time to select a college, Sally knew she wanted to be challenged academically, but she also hoped to find a close-knit campus community, where people worked together and cared for each other.

The scholarship made it possible for her to attend Furman, where Sally says she has found small-town friendliness with big-time opportunities — "a diverse campus with diverse people, who can teach me about myself, the world, and how to make the most of my life."