Greenville, S.C. – Furman football's Duncan Fletcher and men's lacrosse's Jon Vandenberg have been named Southern Conference Graduate Scholars, the league announced Monday. The two, along with eight other SoCon student-athletes, will be honored for their accomplishments at the Southern Conference Honors Dinner in Hilton Head, S.C., on Wednesday, May 31.
Fletcher, the recipient of the Mike Wood Graduate Scholarship, was a three-time second-team All-Southern Conference selection at tight end after playing quarterback as a freshman, when he helped the Paladins to a SoCon title and an FCS playoff appearance. A native of Columbus, Ga., who earned third-team preseason All-America honors from STATS heading into his junior season and was a team captain as a senior, was a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2016 and was recently awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship valued at $7,500.
A member of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes leadership team in 2015, Fletcher was the Furman chapter's president in 2016 and will defer enrollment in graduate school while he serves a one-year FCA internship on Furman's campus. After that, Fletcher, who carries a 3.85 GPA and is majoring in business administration, will attend Vanderbilt to pursue a master's in accountancy, starting in fall 2018. Vanderbilt's program will allow Fletcher the opportunity to intern with one of the Big Four accounting firms. His goal is to start his career in public accounting and eventually become CFO of a company.
Vandenberg, the 2017 recipient of the David Knight Graduate Scholarship, has played in 46 of a possible 48 games in his career and earned a spot on the Southern Conference All-Tournament Team in 2015. The two-year team captain works tirelessly in the Furman community, particularly with his involvement in the campus' Heller Service Corps, a student-run community service organization. In his role on the Heller Leadership Committee, Vandenberg organizes meetings, meets prospective volunteers and sets up community service work for students. He has also helped organize the Furman University Dance Marathon in each of his four years on campus, first on the leadership team as a freshman and then as the event's director in each of the last three years. Over Vandenberg's four years of involvement with the event, the Dance Marathon raised around $74,000 for the Greenville Children's Hospital.
The biology major, who sports a 3.89 GPA and aspires to be pediatric physician, has spent two summers interning in the medical field, first at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and next at the Nemours A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. Vandenberg is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Beta Beta Beta and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. In 2016, he was a CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 selection and earned induction into Furman's Quaternion Club, which inducts just four juniors and four seniors each year that represent excellence in leadership, academics, volunteer work and love of Furman.
The recipients are nominated by their schools and selected by the Southern Conference Graduate Scholar Committee. The scholarships, worth $2,000 each, are awarded to student-athletes about to receive their undergraduate degrees who intend to pursue advanced degrees in graduate or professional school. The student-athletes are evaluated on academics, athletics and community service.