By: Evan Myers, Assistant News Editor
What do defeating Ebola, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, helping Detroit out of bankruptcy and pulling the financial system back from the brink in 2008 have in common? All of these crises were confronted by Furman alumni, who will be returning to their alma-mater to to tell their stories at the Riley Institute and Politic and International Affairs CLP: “Crisis and Response: Stories of Leadership Second Biennial Alumni-in-Residence Program” on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00p.m.
Jill Fuson, director for the Riley Institute’s Center for Critical Issues, emphasized that the event should be especially powerful because, “these crises were real, in our lifetime, and it took real people to solve them.”
Among these real people are Paladins Eric Spitler ’81, former FDIC Legislative Director, Beth Niblock ’82, Chief Information Officer for the City of Detroit, Jason Terrell ’12, Co-founder and Executive Director of Profound Gentlemen and the Honorable Deborah Malac ’77, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda; former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia.
“All of our guests are coming because of their love for their alma mater,” said Fuson.
According to the alumni, Furman made a huge impact on their lives and careers. Niblock, for example, who helped bring Detroit into the 21st century, said, “Being challenged by many of my professors about broadening my perspective ignited a passion for lifelong learning. Continuous learning is a must in a technology career.”
Jason Terrell, whose organization Profound Gentlemen helps fight the school-to-prison pipeline through providing a community for male educators of color, revealed that he was “able to find my leadership style while at Furman.” And Eric Splitter, who helped pull the nation back from the brink of economic crisis in 2008, said that the skills he learned at Furman were “invaluable preparation for a career in public policy.”
According to Fuson, the Riley Center hopes that these former Dins will simultaneously inspire current students to see how far they can go with a Furman education and present attendees to the event with real challenges that take real, decisive leadership to solve. Such an experience, Fuson believes, will go hand in hand with the Riley Institute’s theme for its 20 year anniversary: principled leadership.
More than just a CLP, the alumni-guests return to Furman will be full of interaction with students, who they will be visiting in classes, conversing with at Pizza and Politics (a Political Science Department tradition) and inspiring throughout their visit.