Robert H. Buckman
Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bulab Holdings, Inc.
Robert Buckman served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bulab Holdings, Inc., the holding company of Buckman Laboratories, from 1978 until his retirement in December 2000. He holds degrees from Purdue University and the University of Chicago, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from both North Carolina State University and Asbury Theological Seminary, an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Rhodes College in Memphis, an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Furman University. He is on the Board of Trustees of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina; the Board of Trustees of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee; and the Board of Directors of APQC in Houston, Texas. He previously served on the Board of Trustees of Rhodes College, the Board of Directors of LeBonheur Children's Center Foundation, and the Board of Directors of the Church Health Center, all in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a member of the Society of Entrepreneurs (Memphis), Phi Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, and the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Knowledge Management.
In 1988 he was named was named Exporter of the Year by the Mid-South Exporters Roundtable; in 1991 was the recipient of the Cook-Halle Award in recognition of his contributions to industry and community in Memphis; in 1993 was named "Master of Free Enterprise" by Junior Achievement of Greater Memphis in recognition of his business leadership and civic contributions; in 1996 received the Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award from Purdue University; in 1996 was the recipient of the Knowledge Management Leadership Award from Business Intelligence in London; and in 1998 was named a Distinguished Delphi Fellow as a visionary behind one of the most widely cited knowledge management initiatives to date (presented by The Delphi Group of Boston). In 2001 he was the recipient of the Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award for his outstanding accomplishments in the specialty chemicals industry and his leadership in the field of knowledge management and knowledge sharing. In 1996, under the leadership of Bob Buckman, Buckman Laboratories was recipient of the Arthur Andersen LLP 1996 Enterprise Award for Best Practices in the category of Knowledge Sharing in the Organization; in 1997, Buckman Laboratories was recipient of the 1997 Computerworld Smithsonian Award for visionary use of information technology in the Manufacturing category. In 2000 was named one of the top ten Most Admired Knowledge Leaders for his world-class knowledge leadership contributions to his company and to the New Economy. The study was conducted by Teleos and Work Frontiers International. In 2000 and 2002 Buckman Labs was the winner of the Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises study for its strong corporate knowledge culture, knowledge leadership, and transforming corporate knowledge into shareholder value. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Master Entrepreneur Award presented jointly by The Society of Entrepreneurs and Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South. In 2015 Bob and his wife, Joyce, were recipients of the Crystal Award for "Outstanding Philanthropists" presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Memphis.
Bob is an avid fisherman and enjoys snow skiing with his friends and family. He is married to Joyce Mollerup and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
Hardy S. Clemons
Retired pastor and executive coach
Hardy S. Clemons, trustee emeritus, is a native of Lubbock, Texas, and 1955 graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in education. He later earned bachelor of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He converted his Th.D. to a Ph.D. in 1975 at Texas Tech, where he studied the links between the fields of psychology and theology. He did postdoctoral work at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. From 1961 to 1967, he was senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Georgetown, Texas, and for the next 21 years he served in the same capacity at Second Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas. In 1988, he became senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Greenville, from which he retired in January 2000. He returned to San Antonio, Texas, where he became executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, from which he retired in August 2008. He plans to continue a general ministry of preaching, writing and counseling and is also doing some executive coaching.
Active in denominational and community affairs, he has been the moderator and a member of the executive committee of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has taught at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland. He co-chaired the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs and is the author of Saying Hello to Your Life After Grief, published by Smyth and Helwys. He is a recipient of the Wayne Oates Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Care and Counseling, given annually by the Wayne E. Oates Institute. He also received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Furman in 1994.
He and his wife, Ardelle, have a daughter, Kay, two married grandchildren, and one great granddaughter, Hannah Watt.
Merl is the owner/CEO of Precision Tool Manufacturer
A mathematics cum laude graduate of North Carolina A & T State University, Merl Code earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina Law School, where he was elected president of the South Carolina Law School Student Bar Association. He played eight years of professional football in the Canadian Football League before settling in Greenville to practice law. He is counsel in the Greenville Law Firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Stewart.
A Municipal Court Judge in Greenville, Merl is the owner/CEO of Precision Tool Manufacturer, owner/chair of Code Insurance Associates, and president of Code & Associates, a sports management agency.
In 1984, he was selected as Young Lawyer of the Year by the South Caroline Bar Association, and in 1997, he received their Compleat Lawyer Award. The South Carolina Business Network named him Business Person of the Year in 1996; in the same year, he was honored by Vision Magazine as being one of the Top 25 Business Influencers and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the Governor of South Carolina. In 1998, he received the Greenville Bar Association’s Tommy Thomason Award and in 1999, he was inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame.
In addition to Furman, Merl serves on the boards of the Palmetto Institute, Local Development Corporation, the Institute for Child Success, the Hollingsworth Funds, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina Board of Directors, the Greenville Urban League (former chair), and the United Way of Greenville (former chair).
Merl and his wife, Denise, have two children.
John C. Cothran
Retired chair of the Cothran Company and past president of the Greenville Board of Realtors and Home Builders Association
John C. Cothran, a native of Benton, Arkansas, graduated from Furman in 1954. After two years as an officer with the U.S. Army 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, he entered the field of real estate, and since 1956, he has been a leader in real estate development in Greenville. The retired chair of the Cothran Company, he is past president of the Greenville Board of Realtors and Home Builders Association and has been honored as Realtor of the Year and Homebuilder of the Year and is a member of the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame.
He has served Greenville's First Baptist Church as deacon and Chair of Deacons. An organizing member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), he is past Moderator of the South Carolina CBF. He also has served on numerous boards in the Greenville Community including the Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Jaycees, Community Housing Corporation, First Union National Bank Advisory Board among others.
He was a founding member of the ownership group and board member of GBS Building Supply from its inception in 1973 until its sale in 2016. He is Chair Emeritus of Verdae Development, Inc. and former member of the Hollingsworth Funds Board. He is past chair of the Furman Board of Trustees, the Advisory Council, and past president of the Paladin Club. He received the Furman Alumni Service Award in 1992.
John and his wife, Jeanette, have four sons; Clark '84, Stephen '86, Philip, and Scott.
Sarah Belk Gambrell
Director - Belk, Inc.
Sarah Belk Gambrell, trustee emerita, is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and a graduate of Sweet Briar College. She is the daughter of W. H. Belk Sr., founder of the Belk Group of stores, having served as an officer and director of Belk stores in the Southeast. Active in arts and community organizations, she serves on the boards of the YWCA of Central Carolinas (honorary); YWCA of New York City (honorary); Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Columbia-Presbyterian New York; North Carolina Community Foundation, Inc., Raleigh; Executive Mansion, Fine Arts Committee, Raleigh; Cancer Research Institute, New York City (honorary); Dress for Success, Inc., Charlotte; The Charlotte Museum of History (honorary); Historic Rosedale Plantation, Charlotte; North Carolina Transportation Museum; and the Andrew Jackson Historical Foundation, Inc., Museum of the Waxhaws.
She serves as trustee of Queens University, Charlotte; Princeton Theological Seminary (emerita); Trinity Episcopal School, Charlotte; and William Black Home for Religious Workers, Montreat.
She holds honorary doctorates from Erskine College, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Furman University and Johnson C. Smith University.
Her husband, the late Charles G. Gambrell, was a 1922 Furman graduate and a member of the university's Advisory Council. Together they established the Charles and Sarah Belk Gambrell Scholarship for deserving students at Furman.
Sarah has a daughter, Sally, and four grandsons, twins Charles and Cooper, and Christopher and Caleb.
Ralph S. Hendricks
President of Hendricks Properties
Ralph S. Hendricks, trustee emeritus, was born in Bowman, Georgia, and grew up in Gray Court, South Carolina. After service in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, he returned to Simpsonville, South Carolina, where he built a flourishing building supply and hardware business and became a leading citizen, serving as the town's mayor from 1975 to 1987. He is currently president of Hendricks Properties.
He has been active in the First Baptist Church, including terms as deacon and treasurer. A leader in both business and the community, he has been president of the Carolina Lumber Dealers Association, the Greenville Home Builders Association, the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce and the Simpsonville Rotary. He has been actively involved with Meals on Wheels, Miracle Hill, the Salvation Army and the Boys Home of the South. He was honored as Builder of the Year in 1986 and Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 1988. A longtime member of the YMCA, he chaired its capital campaign. In 2000, Furman awarded him an honorary doctor of humanities degree.
Married in 1987 to Marion Hubbard, he has two stepsons.
Richard W. Riley
Former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina
Richard W. Riley is the former U. S. Secretary of Education (1993-2001) and former Governor of South Carolina (1979-1987). He currently is asenior partner in the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, with more than 400 attorneys in offices throughout the Carolinas and major cities elsewhere in the Southeast, as well as West Virginia, Boston and Washington, D.C. Secretary Riley counsels clients and works with partners to develop strategy on complex business, governance, financial, education, government relations and legal matters for local, national and international clients. Secretary Riley also is Senior Partner in the law firm's affiliate, Education Counsel, which specializes in education advocacy, policy, strategy and law.
Secretary Riley remains an ambassador for improving education in the United States and abroad. He serves on the Board at his alma mater, Furman University, and is Advisory Board Chair of the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership there. He has been named Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, and the College of Education at Winthrop University bears his name, as does the College of Education and Leadership at Walden University. In addition, he speaks, provides leadership and serves in an advisory and collaborative capacity with many other entities across the nation and abroad that support education improvement at all levels.
Secretary Riley earned his bachelor's degree, cum laude, in political science from Furman University in 1954 and received a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1959. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from universities and colleges in the United States and abroad, as well as numerous education and other public service awards. In 2009, TIME Magazine named him one of America's Top 10 Best Cabinet Members and in 2010 he was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame.
Secretary Riley and his late wife, Ann "Tunky" Yarborough Riley, have four children and 14 grandchildren.
Emilyn Childs Sanders
Member of the Board of Trustees of the Upcountry History Museum, Greenville Museum of Art, Community Foundation, and others
Emilyn Childs Sanders, a Greenville native, is a graduate of the University of Houston. She did graduate work at the University of Houston School of Social Work and at the New York School of Interior Design. In New York, she served as executive assistant to the senior minister of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Emilyn's two sons, Dan, Jr. and John, and daughter-in-law, Suzanne, are all Furman graduates. Emilyn and her husband, Dan, are former chairs of the Parents Council and have served on the Advisory Council.
Emilyn remains on the Board of Trustees of the Upcountry History Museum where she is dedicated to the American History Book Club. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Greenville Museum of Art, Community Foundation, Upstate Independent Film Society, and the Metropolitan Council.
Elizabeth Peace Stall
Founding president of the Peace Center
Elizabeth Peace Stall, trustee emerita, graduated from Greenville High School and went on to Hollins College, where she graduated with honors. Furman also awarded her with an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2007.
Founding president of the Peace Center, she has served as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville, president of the Junior League of Greenville, trustee of St. Francis Hospital, member of the South Carolina Commission on Mental Retardation and chair of the volunteer committee of the Citizens Committee for Integration of Greenville Schools. She also serves as a lifetime trustee of Brookgreen Gardens. She has been a trustee at Hollins University; the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, and Presbyterian College and is a member of the First Baptist Church.
She has a daughter*, two sons, and seven grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren.