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UA 00/021 Minor Mickel Trustee Papers, 1990-1992

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Biographical Sketch

Minor Herndon Mickel was born in Elberton, Georgia, the daughter of Fred and Mary Helen Smith Herndon. Mickel attended Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia. Mickel was active for many years in the Greenville community, serving as a board member and treasurer of the Junior League of Greenville and on the boards of the Phillis Wheatley Association, the Rose Ball, the United Way, the Peace Center, the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville, and the Greenville Hospital Foundation. She also served as the first woman chair of the Board of Furman University 1989-1992, and was trustee emeriti. She received an honorary degree from Furman University in 1993 and received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award from Furman in 1989. Mickel was Chairman of Micco Corporation and Vice Chairman of the Daniel-Michel Foundation.

Mickel’s husband, Buck Mickel, was CEO of Daniel International. They had three children. Mickel passed away on February 18, 2005.

Timeline of Events:

Summer 1990 - Group of alumni formed a task force to see if anything could be done to prevent a takeover of the Board by “fundamentalists.” Four lawyers from four different firms studied S.C. law and concluded that the Furman board had a legal right and responsibility to elect its own trustees. Findings presented to the trustees and administration.

October 15, 1990 – Furman’s Board of Trustees votes to amend the school’s charter, giving the board the sole power to elect Furman’s trustees. Later in the day, the faculty adopts a resolution supporting the action of the board. Association of Furman Students (AFS), the Baptist Student Union, the Furman Advisory Council and the Furman Alumni Board later adopt similar resolutions.

October 16, 1990 – The trustee’s vote unanimously to elect five new board members to begin their five-year terms in January 1991. The board also unanimously adopted a policy statement emphasizing its commitment to S.C. Baptists and Christian higher education.

October 18, 1990 – The Executive Committee of the General Board of the SCBC meets in Columbia to consider the action of the Furman trustees. The committee asks the convention president to appoint a committee to meet with the trustees to work toward a solution of the matter.

November 13-14, 1990 – Messengers to the SCBC, meeting in Columbia, agree that the two committees should have time to attempt to work out a solution. The messengers also vote to escrow the $1.6 million the convention earmarked for Furman.

May 15, 1991 – The Furman/SCBC Relations Committee and the Executive Committee of Furman’s board meet in Columbia. Both sides report that progress is made and the two sides will meet again soon.

May 28, 1991 – The two committees gather for a second time and meet for six hours. They announce a tentative agreement on a process for electing trustees was reached. Details of the plan were not released.

July 11, 1991 – The two committees meet for a third time to work out the final details of the covenant spelling out the relationship between Furman and the SCBC. The covenant gained endorsements from both the president and executive secretary/treasurer of SCBC.

July 30, 1991 – Furman trustees approve a plan allowing the SCBC to participate in the selection of the school’s trustees. The covenant calls for 60 percent of the board to be composed of S.C. Baptists at all times. The plan also says that the convention will pick five trustees each year from a list of 10 names provided by Furman.

November 12-13, 1991 – The SCBC, meeting in Greenville, votes to pursue a declaratory judgement action against Furman to determine the legality of the trustee’s actions in October 1990. The messengers did not consider the covenant.

December 17, 1991 – SCBC officials announced the selection of their seven-member committee to pursue a declaratory judgement action against Furman. The committee includes Chip Campsen, the messenger who made the motion at the convention to pursue legal action against the university, and Guy Sanders, a member of the Furman board.

January 31, 1992 – Officials with the SCBC Committee on Furman announce that the committee would like to meet with officials of Furman to discuss the matter further. Johns said university officials are willing to hear what committee members have to say.

March 27, 1992 – The Executive Committee of Furman’s board and the SCBC committee meet on the campus of Furman. Following a cordial meeting, both sides release a joint statement saying that they “left the door open for future meetings.”

April 2, 1992 – The SCBC committee releases an eight-page statement saying it is breaking off talks with Furman. Johns responds by saying, “We are prepared to fight.”

April 3, 1992 – Johns sends out a letter to students explaining the proposals by both groups and the threat of a lawsuit by the SCBC.

April 6, 1992 – A group of 34 Baptist ministers, “representing the diversity of theological beliefs found among the S.C. Baptists” calls for the SCBC to sever all legal and financial ties with Furman at a press conference in Columbia.

May 15, 1992 – The SCBC votes to sever legal and financial ties with Furman as of May 16, 1992.