President Emeritus & Professor of History, Furman University
Dr. David E. Shi (pronounced “Shy”) was the 10th president of Furman University (Greenville, SC) from 1994 to 2010. Shi, an Atlanta native and a 1973 magna cum laude Furman graduate, championed Furman’s emphasis on engaged learning, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship.
Under David’s direction, Furman became a national leader in promoting sustainability during the early twenty-first century. David was a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2006. During his presidency, Furman built the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building in South Carolina. In 2010, the environmental organization Upstate Forever presented Shi with its Extraordinary Achievement in Environmental Conservation Award. That same year, Furman University’s board of trustees named its new sustainability institute in honor of Shi.
Established in 2008, the David E. Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities generates all its electricity needs from renewable energy sources and features a student-run organic garden that supplies all its produce to the university’s dining hall. Over its first ten years, the Shi Institute has evolved into an animating hub where educators, students and community leaders work together to address the most complex issues of sustainability, on- and off-campus.
David is the author of several books, including The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in American Culture, which integrates his personal and professional interests in sustainability, simplicity, and environmentalism, and America: a Narrative History, which incorporates a focus on environmental history.