News

Conversations with Retiring Faculty Members

By Courtney Such, News Editor

The Class of 2014 is not the only group leaving Furman for new adventures this year. Six faculty members will also conclude their professorships and begin the retired life this May. The professors are retiring for diverse reasons, but the main consensus is that they are ready to see what lies beyond the Furman gates.

Dr. Kenneth C. Abernethy, Professor of Computer Science

​​How long have you worked at Furman?

This is my 31st year at Furman.

What is your favorite thing about the university?

I’ve enjoyed all aspects of my job which has included teaching, research, and administrative duties. But my favorite part of the job by far has been the teaching and the opportunity to work with so many enthusiastic, hard-working, and talented students over those 31 years.

Dr. Kenneth C. Abernethy, Professor of Computer Science

Dr. Kenneth C. Abernethy

What impacted your decision to retire this year?

During the past 15 years, in about 50 percent of my time, I have been engaged in professional development education for information technology professionals as a part of the university’s outreach efforts in the corporate community. This too has been a rewarding teaching experience. My decision to retire was driven by my desire to have more time to pursue two book projects.

What are your post-Furman plans?

I have begun to have more time to spend with my wife, children, and my four grandchildren. I also look forward to continuing on a part-time basis my work in professional education initiatives with the corporate community.

 

Dr. Charles Lee Brewer, Professor of Psychology

​​How long have you worked at Furman?

Since 1967 (i.e., 47 years).

Dr. Charles Lee Brewer, Professor of Psychology

Dr. Charles Lee Brewer

What is your favorite thing about the university?

Inquisitive and diligent students; competent and committed faculty members; administrative support for my work.

What impacted your decision to retire this year?

Having received glowing evaluations from students in my classes last term, I wanted to go out on top of my game. I did not want students to say that “Brewer should have retired a long time ago.”

What are your post-Furman plans?

To devote more time as a consulting editor for a new journal published by the American Psychological Association, “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

 

Dr. Jane S. Chew, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

​​How long have you worked at Furman?

This is my 34th year at Furman; I came in 1980.

What is your favorite thing about the university?

Dr. Jane S. Chew, Professor of Modern Languages and Literature

Dr. Jane S. Chew

I remember many years ago, probably in my first year of teaching at Furman, driving onto Furman’s campus and thinking how lucky I was to be here, at an institution that was ambitious about its academic program, about getting steadily better, about excellence. (I remember thinking at that time, I need to remember this moment.) Those ambitions are inscribed on the campus I see today and on its faculty; I confess I am somewhat concerned about what our ambitions are now.

What impacted your decision to retire this year?

I decided to retire because my husband, Jim Edwards, has been retired for three years, and there are some things we would like to do before we both get too old to do them.  Also, I think it is important to carve out a life in retirement before it is too late.

What are your post-Furman plans?

We want to spend six weeks or so in Berlin next fall, but first I have to make the plans, which I haven’t had time to do. I also want to learn how to draw, assuming it can be learned. Beyond that, I’ll just have to see when I’m there, in retirement.

 

Dr. Patricia L. Pecoy, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

​​How long have you worked at Furman?

Since 1986 (28 years).

What is your favorite thing about the university?

Dr. Patricia L. Pecoy, Professor of Modern Languages and Literature

Dr. Patricia L. Pecoy

The golf course (I am an avid member of Purple and White — the faculty/staff golf league; Go Purple!)

What impacted your decision to retire this year?

It’s time for a change.

What are your post-Furman plans?

I plan to begin immediately ticking off items on my bucket list.  The first four are:

  • To dance with my son at his wedding (this will happen next April!).
  • To hold my grandbabies in my arms (this may take a bit longer).
  • To travel to Tahiti (Someday…).
  • To finish all the unfinished projects in my artsy-craftsy boxes, bags, crates, and baskets (this will probably never happen!).

 

Dr. Shirley A. Ritter, Professor of Education

How long have you worked at Furman?

This is my 30th year

What is your favorite thing about the university?

Dr. Shirley A. Ritter

Dr. Shirley A. Ritter

The people: people are very important to me. Since being at Furman, I am fortunate to have had excellent mentors, colleagues, friends and students. They stimulate me, motivate me, inspire me, and make me laugh.

What impacted your decision to retire this year?

I enjoy my work, especially teaching, but I decided that after 30 years, I am ready to have a schedule that does not always require me to set an alarm clock.

What are your post-Furman plans?

To slow down and enjoy what I try to pack into weekends or other non-teaching times: time with friends and family, yard work and house projects, reading and maybe learning to play bridge consistently well.

 

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