The Lure of Bagpipes

Connor Fuhrman

With his nearly trimmed hair and slightly oversized glasses, Cadet Connor Fuhrman, an electrical engineering major from Austin, Texas, gives off a bookish appearance that does not match the unkempt party-loving lacrosse player of his high school days who played hooky and caused his parents sleepless nights.

“I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and constantly getting in trouble,” he said.

In his senior year, Fuhrman dropped out of high school altogether.

How did Fuhrman go from being a high school dropout to being one of the highest-ranking cadets at The Citadel—a cadet who consistently earned Gold Stars for superior academic performance?

With a good deal of pressure from his parents, Fuhrman got his GED and began taking classes at a community college, and then his father—Michael Fuhrman, ’91, stepped in and insisted that Fuhrman attend a pre-knob visit at The Citadel.

It was at parade, as the haunting notes of Scotland the Brave sounded from the bagpipers marching on Summerall Field, that Fuhrman first felt a connection to his father’s alma mater. At the Episcopal school he attended from first grade until he dropped out as a senior, bagpipers had played on St. Andrew’s Day and other days throughout the year. As he heard the bagpipes echo across campus, Fuhrman knew that it was time to turn his life around.

The rest of the story is about a young man who accepted a challenge, who juggled academics and cadet life, and who eventually found his path forward. Fuhrman not only majored in electrical engineering, he heaped two minors—applied math and aerospace science—on top of an already rigorous course load. He has plans to pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering with a focus on robotics.

“The Citadel breeds excellence in people. Because it is a small college, you get a lot of individual attention, and it is unique in the fact that you have structure and discipline. When you have structure and discipline, and then you gradually get a little more leash, you learn to succeed in your own time.”

With a stellar academic record and having earned the position of regimental academic officer, Fuhrman has a bright future before him… and his parents can sleep easier.

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