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The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Dual Professor Profile: The Turners

Dr. Helen Lee Turner and her younger brother Dr. David Turner have worked at Furman together for many years. They even pursued their undergraduate degrees together at Wake Forest.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

Dr. Helen Lee Turner

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my children and family, go camping, and travel, especially to the Hopi reservation.Drs. Turner

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

Thrift store shopping. [laughs] My favorite place to go is the Salvation Army. My brother likes going to auctions—we grew up in families with very poor backgrounds who had the Depression mentality, and always learned to look for bargains.

What is your favorite book and why?

It’s For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann. It talks about the sacredness of life, how all of life should be an epiphany of God.

What is the professional accomplishment you are most proud of thus far?

I think the development of some new kinds of courses for Furman—the course I teach on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism, a course on Native American religions, a course on Judaism—those were all new areas for Furman when I came. Teaching such a broad expanse of courses means you have less time to research and write books, but I feel like over the years, it’s been a good contribution to Furman.

How is it working with your brother at Furman?

Great. We don’t see each other as much as I’d like, but we often see each other in the Dining Hall. We like the faculty dining room—we think it’s great to mingle with colleagues from other departments, so we’re regulars down there.

Dr. David Turner

Who is your favorite scientist and why?

I’ve got a lot of choices for this one. I can’t help but admire Albert Einstein for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he was such a devout pacifist. He was acutely aware of the political significance of the atomic bomb. There’s also a man named Emilio Segre who wrote a book called From X-rays to Quarks. His contributions, as well as his efforts to preserve history in his book, make me admire him.

What do you consider the “nerdiest” thing about yourself?

Well, its funny. I love history in so many ways, and shows about, say, the history of paper. I’d say that’s pretty nerdy. Learning how it is that certain technical things were done, historically, is where a lot of my interest lies.

What’s your favorite food/movie?

Silver Streak is my favorite movie—it’s a comedy, and I just love the release from brutal reality that comedy represents. Gene Wilder is a wonderful comedian. As for my favorite food, I’d probably say steak (cooked rare).

How is it working with your sister at Furman?

Wonderful! One of the most interesting talks I’ve heard at Furman was a talk she gave about science as a religion, so that was a very interesting thing for me to hear.

Do you two have any conflicts with you being a science professor, and her a religion professor?

No. We grew up in a household where our father had an understanding of the different natures of science and religion, and he perceived no conflict whatsoever, and felt that the perception of conflict, in fact, was a failing on people’s part.

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