Folly Carter was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her baccalaureate and master's degrees in education from the University of South Carolina. After teaching business courses in secondary education for a number of years, she served in the administrations of Governor Carroll Campbell (communications office liaison), Governor David Beasley, and Governor Jim Hodges (director of infant mortality reduction programs).
As the first lady of FMU, she participates in numerous local and state organizations, to include the Florence Symphony Guild, Wildwood Garden Club, Allegro Literacy Club and the South Carolina Arts Alliance. Dr. and Mrs. Carter have two children, Bryan and Luke. Bryan is an international economist residing in London, England. He and his wife, Adele, have three children, Max, Chole, and Millie. Luke is a sophmore at Wofford College
The Carter's attend St. John's Episcopal Church.