The Ashpy P. Lowrimore Auditorium in the Cauthen Educational Media Center was been completely renovated and outfitted with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment in 2003, due to a $500,000 gift in Lowrimore’s honor from an anonymous donor.
Lowrimore, who died in 2001, was an outstanding Florence leader who distinguished himself through his banking career, civic involvement, and commitment to his community and FMU. A regional president of BB&T, he was chairman of FMU’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee at the time of his death.
The 201-seat auditorium serves as a classroom during the day, and is also used for symposiums, forums, lectures, movies and other events. The auditorium contains new carpet, seats, paint and lights. The stage was redone into two stages: a presentation stage and a smaller teaching stage. The auditorium has three wall-mounted cameras to record or broadcast live events. There is a large projection screen that can be lowered and raised at the push of a button. The new equipment also includes a DVD/vcr combination unit, stereo, speakers with surround sound, computers, and wireless microphones.
All of the audio-visual equipment can be operated from a control room at the back of the auditorium. Another set of controls is located on a stage wall, and a third set is on a special teaching podium.
The podium has a built-in touch screen, on which professors can make notations using a stylus. Presenters can also hook up a laptop computer or use the podium’s overhead projector to present information on the large projection screen.
Outside the auditorium is a new student lounge area with new flooring, furniture and vending machines.
A portion of the $500,000 gift also went toward construction of a fountain in the center mall area of campus. The 25-ft. diameter fountain has 40 jets spraying water eight feet high. Sidewalks around the fountain have been reworked and lighting and landscaping have been added.
The plaque reads:
"Dedicated in memory of an outstanding Florence leader who distinguished himself through is banking career, civic involvement, and commitment to his community and Francis Marion University. As chairman of the FMU Campaign for Excellence, he left a legacy of service to the university and region. A modest man, he never sought personal attention or recognition for his good deeds and generosity."