History of Furman
Furman is one of the oldest colleges in South Carolina and the 64th oldest in the nation. It is named for Richard Furman of Charleston, South Carolina, prominent minister and president of the first Baptist Convention in America, who laid the groundwork for the establishment of the college.
Founded at Edgefield, South Carolina, in 1826 as an academy and theological institute, the school was chartered as a full-fledged university in 1850 and moved to Greenville. Its theological school branched off in 1858 as the Southern Baptist Seminary and subsequently moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Plans for law and medical schools were deferred because of the Civil War. In 1920 a law school opened, but it lasted only 12 years. For most of its existence, therefore, Furman has been a liberal arts college.
During the 1920s, the college took on its present character and reached new heights of excellence. It completed a building program that made it a residential college. It became an accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1924 and a beneficiary of The Duke Endowment in the same year. In 1933 it was coordinated with the Greenville Woman's College.
The Woman's College, which traced its roots to an academy begun in Greenville in 1820, was chartered by the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1854 as the Greenville Baptist Female College, governed by the Furman board of trustees. In 1908 it became independent of Furman and in 1914 changed its name to the Greenville Woman's College. After coordination, it became the Woman's College of Furman University. It remained so until 1961, when the university became fully coeducational on a spacious new campus just north of Greenville.
In 1992, formal ties with the South Carolina Baptist Convention were severed and Furman became fully independent.