Furman's administrative operations are managed under the leadership of nine senior administrators. Covering everything from athletics and student housing to admission and the university's budget, these administrations help execute Furman's strategic plan and goals.
Vice President for Student Life
Connie Carson, vice president for student life, joined
the university in 2008. She previously served as assistant vice
president of campus services and planning at Wake Forest University.
During her tenure at Wake Forest, Carson served as the associate director of residence life and housing and executive director of residential services. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Carson holds a master of education degree from North Carolina State and a master of business administration from Wake Forest.
To learn more, visit the division of student life website.
Vice President and Director of Athletics
Gary Clark has served as the director of athletics since 2000. He previously served as director of the Paladin Club.
A 1974 Furman graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in history, Clark earned master of education and doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina. He spent 23 years at Spartanburg Day School as a teacher, coach, and headmaster, where he oversaw several successful enrollment and fund-raising initiatives.
Clark is a native of Chicago Heights, Ill. and a former member of the NCAA's prestigious management council. He is married to the former Merrie McCullough '75 and has two sons, Ryan and John Stewart.
To learn more, visit the athletics website.
Associate Vice President for Spiritual Life, University Chaplain, and Associate Professor of Religion
Vaughn CroweTipton is associate vice president for spiritual life, university chaplain, and associate professor of religion. Formerly the senior pastor at Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala., CroweTipton taught in the religion department at Auburn University, as well as Mercer University, Brewton-Parker College and Macon College. He has served as senior pastor at Northwest Baptist Church in Ardmore, Okla., senior chaplain at Methodist Children's Home in Macon, Ga., and pastor of Loveview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Tex. Along with speaking at conferences, he has published numerous articles and edited several books.
A graduate of Mississippi College, he holds the master of divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate in biblical studies from Baylor University. CroweTipton has also done postdoctoral study at Oxford University.
To learn more, visit the chaplaincy website.
Vice President for Development
Mike Gatchell, vice president for development, joined the university in 2006 as executive director of development, and became vice president in 2007. He previously served as director of the alumni association and director of major gifts at Furman from 1996 to 1999, followed by five years as senior account manager at Blackbaud, Inc., where he was a consultant for numerous fundraising organizations.
Gatchell earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Furman in 1991 and a master of business administration from Clemson University. Mike and his wife, Heather, have two children, Griffin and Eli.
To learn more, visit the Development website.
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations
Kelly joined Furman in 2010 and brings over 25 years of experience in market research, strategic planning, and integrated communications management to his position. A native of Baltimore, Md., he previously served at Sewanee: The University of the South, Loyola University Maryland, and the University of South Carolina-Aiken. Prior to his career in higher education, he was a newspaper reporter in Augusta, Ga., and Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in English, and earned a master of science degree in communications management from The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Kelly is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Rotary International, and has served on the boards of numerous civic and professional organizations.
To learn more, visit the Marketing and Public Relations website.
Mary Lou Merkt
Vice President of Finance and Administration
Mary Lou Merkt, vice president for finance and administration, came to Furman in 2003 from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where she served as vice president for finance and administration. She began her career in higher education at her alma mater, Radford University (Va.), serving as director of internal audit, director of financial services, and later, assistant vice president for finance.
Merkt is a certified public accountant and holds both a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master of business administration degree. She currently serves as vice president of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.
She and her husband, Bill, have one son, Christian.
To learn more, visit the Finance and Administration website.
Associate Vice President for Admission
Brad Pochard began his career at Furman as director of admission in 2008 and was promoted to associate vice president of admission in 2011. Pochard is currently leading a comprehensive effort to increase the university's application pool, strengthen Furman's presence in existing markets, and expand recruitment efforts into new markets. He successfully led the department of admission in enrolling a record number of students for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Pochard previously served as director of admission at his alma mater, Wittenberg University in Ohio, where he received a bachelor of arts in political science. He also earned a master of business administration from the University of Phoenix. Pochard is active in several professional organizations, including both the National and Southern Associations of College Admission Counseling. His wife, Brianne, is Furman's grants coordinator, and together, they have a son named Jakob Taylor (J.T.).
To learn more, visit the Admission website.
Associate Vice President for Financial Aid
Forrest Stuart is associate vice president for financial aid. Prior to joining Furman in 2008, Stuart worked as director of financial aid at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee for eight years and in both admissions and financial aid at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama for 11 years.
Stuart has served as president, association governance chair, conference chair, district 1 chair, and governmental relations chair for the Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He has also served as Tennessee's state trainer for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and served two years as the chair of the membership committee of the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He recently completed a three-year term as a regionally-elected representative to the College Board's College Scholarship Services National Assembly Council, and he has been an assembly council representative for the Southern Region of the College Board.
Stuart is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education at Clemson University. He received his bachelor of arts degree in human resources management from Birmingham-Southern College and his master of arts degree in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, where he was awarded the outstanding master's thesis award for higher education administration.
He and his wife, Pam, have two daughters.
To learn more, visit the Financial Aid website.