John Beckford Named Dean of Faculty at Furman University

February 16, 2008

GREENVILLE, SC – February 15, 2008 – Dr. John S. Beckford, a member of the Furman University music faculty since 1976, has been named dean of the faculty at the school.  Beckford will begin a four-year term March 1.

We’re thrilled that John will be our new dean, said Dr. Thomas Kazee, Furman’s provost and executive vice president. His evenhanded leadership as chair of the faculty during our consideration of curriculum and calendar change demonstrated judgment and keen insight. Moreover, he is a good listener, and understands that Furman’s outstanding reputation is due in considerable measure to our superb faculty. I’m excited about working with him.

Beckford is professor of percussion and music history at Furman, where he directs the Percussion Ensemble. He has been principal percussionist and timpanist for the Quad-City (Iowa/Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, as well as percussionist for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.

He has performed in every conceivable setting, from supporting Broadway shows in town for a week to playing extra percussion for touring rock and roll bands.

Beckford has also served as a faculty member with the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, past president of the South Carolina Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, a Yamaha Regional-Artist Clinician, a member of the Vic Firth, Inc., Percussion Education Team and an adjudicator for marching and concert percussion competitions.

A native of Iowa who holds undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa, Beckford began teaching at Furman in the fall of 1976 as the university’s first full-time percussion instructor. His students have continued in careers as professional and amateur performers, high school and college teachers, church music directors and members of the music business profession.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.