Greenville, SC | February 27, 2017 – Furman University recently presented awards at its annual Bell Tower Ball, which took place at the TD Convention Center on February 25. The event celebrated the accomplishments of the members of the Furman community, honoring several alumni, a corporate partner, and friends of the university for their professional achievements and for generosity, service, and leadership to the University and the community.
David Trone ‘77 received the Carl F. Kohrt Distinguished Alumni Award, which is awarded annually in recognition of significant professional or personal accomplishments and in gratitude for continued loyalty to Furman University.
Trone, the Owner and President of Total Wine & More, launched the company in 1991 with his brother, Robert. Today the company operates 150 retail stores in 21 states, has $2.5 billion in yearly sales and is the largest independent retailer of wine, spirits, and beer in the country. Known for its generous corporate philanthropy, Total Wine & More has a deep commitment to supporting the community. Because of his connection to Furman, Trone has maintained a strong affection for Greenville. In addition to putting one of his early stores in Greenville, he has steered extensive charitable contributions from Total Wine & More to over 150 non-profits across the Upstate.
At Furman, Trone has been a philanthropic, cultural, and educational leader. His personal giving to Furman includes $5 million to renovate the student center, which now bears the Trone name, and to help launch intercollegiate lacrosse. He also made a $500,000 gift to initiate a fundraising campaign for Furman’s Riley Institute, named for his friend and fellow Furman alumnus, Dick Riley. As a former Trustee, member of the Parents Council, and the Parents Campaign Committee, Trone has played an active role in helping Furman set and achieve goals to benefit students and alumni for years to come.
“Through The Furman Advantage, Furman continues to prove that it’s a private university with a very public mission,” said David Trone. “The Riley Institute exemplifies that in the work they do to make the quality of life better in South Carolina. June and I are very proud to support such an effort and to expand Furman’s impact.”
Clint Dempsey was awarded the Tom A. Triplitt Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes an alumnus from the last 15 years who has brought honor or recognition to Furman through individual accomplishments. Dempsey is recognized as one of the greatest American soccer players of all time, with national and international accolades that mark his career as a professional athlete. Dempsey spent three seasons at Furman, during which he garnered National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American honors and helped lead the Paladin team to one of its highest national rankings in the program’s history. He was then drafted 8th overall by the Major League Soccer (MLS) club New England Revolution, where he quickly earned his way into the starting lineup. He was named Rookie of the Year in his first season, and stayed with the club until 2006. Between 2007 and 2013, Dempsey played with the Fulham and Tottenham clubs of the English Premier League, where he scored a total of 72 goals in all competition, a record among American players. He then returned to the MLS, joining the Seattle Sounders in 2013, and he remains a member of the club to date.
With the United States National Team, Dempsey has participated in four Gold Cups, winning two, and three FIFA World Cups. Dempsey scored goals in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cup competitions, becoming the first American male to score in three World Cups. Of his many honors, highlights include receiving the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year distinction in 2007, 2011, and 2012, and serving as captain of the U.S. National Team.
Robin McGary Herrnstein ’98 was presented with the Gordon L. Blackwell Alumni Service Award, which honors an individual who has dedicated extraordinary service to the greater community. Herrnstein is the co-founder of PIVOT, an organization dedicated to bringing quality and accessible health care to those in need. In the remote region of Madagascar where PIVOT works, one in six children dies before reaching the age of five, and 90% of the population lives below the poverty line. PIVOT combines accessible and comprehensive health care services with rigorous scientific research to save lives and break cycles of poverty and disease. To date, PIVOT has provided care for more than 67,000 patients. The organization works to spread the global health movement, but it is also committed to integrating healthcare with a broader agenda for sustainable development, helping to catalyze a new movement of scientific research inspired by the needs of the poor.
Aligning with these ideals, Herrnstein was instrumental in establishing the Global Health Institute at Stony Brook University. She also serves as a board member of Centre ValBio, which promotes conservation and scientific research in Ranomafana National Park, a UNESCO heritage site adjacent to the communities that PIVOT serves.
ScanSource, Inc. was presented the University Partnership Award, which honors an organization or individual who has worked in conjunction with Furman University to meaningfully contribute to the local or broader community by engaging citizens, promoting public scholarship, and working for the betterment of society. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, ScanSource, Inc. is a leading global provider of technology products and solutions. With more than 2,100 employees in 43 locations across North America, Latin America, Brazil, and Europe, ScanSource ranks #685 on the Fortune 1000 and was named one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in South Carolina.
ScanSource’s core values of integrity, innovation, community service, and valuing differences align strongly with The Furman Advantage. ScanSource employees are engaged in a myriad of ways across campus, with service that includes speaking to prospective students and families, attending career fairs, presenting to the Business Block, and participating in Furman’s mock interview program. ScanSource also hosts networking events for Furman students and offers professional internship opportunities.
ScanSource has been instrumental in the development of Furman’s Bridges to a Brighter Future program, and also supports the Spring Break College Tour, and summer internship program.
Brad Merkl ’86 was presented with the Wayne and Rubye Reid Award, which recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to the career development of Furman students. Merkl is president and owner of the Atlanta-based Metropolitan Companies, and his considerable service to Furman includes membership in the Furman Football Players Association and a term as Atlanta’s Young Alumni Director. For 15 years, Merkl has offered himself as a mentor and advisor to fellow Furman alumni. He has contributed to the professional success of others through resume consulting, interview coaching, and practice sales calls. He connects young Furman alumni with seasoned professionals in their areas of interest and dedicates himself to the career development of those who seek his guidance.
William and Carroll Flowers were presented the Engaged Parent Award, which is presented to the parents of a Furman student or graduate in appreciation for their commitment to education and leadership as volunteers. The Flowers’ four children attended Furman and throughout their time as Furman parents, William and Carroll have been active members of the Parents Council. They are also long-standing members of the Richard Furman Society and loyal ambassadors for Furman admissions.
Paul Scarpa was presented the Honorary Alumni Award, which commends individuals who are not graduates of Furman University but who have made significant contributions to its welfare, reputation, prestige, and pursuit of excellence. Scarpa became Furman University’s men’s tennis coach in 1967 and remained at the helm for 45 seasons, during which he became the winningest NCAA Division I tennis coach in America and longest tenured head coach in any sport in Furman and Southern Conference history. He led his Furman teams to 853 victories, 17 Southern Conference championships, and 14 league tournament championships. For his lifetime of achievements, Scarpa was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.
About Furman University
Furman is a private, undergraduate liberal arts university of 2,700 students in Greenville, S.C. The university is noted for its rigorous academic program and strong faculty, and its 750-acre campus is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation. The university recently unveiled “The Furman Advantage,” a strategic vision that combines a liberal arts and sciences education with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit.