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Educator and Florence Businessman to Receive FMU Honorary Degrees, May 5

            FLORENCE--- An educator and Florence businessman will be awarded honorary degrees from Francis Marion University during spring commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5, in the Smith University Center gymnasium.

            Selected to receive honorary doctoral degrees are: William C. Moran of Murrell’s Inlet and Frank H. Avent of Florence.

            Moran also will be the commencement speaker for the 386 candidates for FMU degrees. Candidates include 347 students for undergraduate degrees and 39 for graduate diplomas. 

            Moran retired as president of Lander University in 2000 and served as special assistant to the minister of higher education and scientific research for United Arab Emirates from 2000 to 2005. Prior to his eight-year stint as president of Lander, he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Francis Marion University for 14 years.

            The lifelong educator began his career as a teacher of high school Latin and English in Baltimore, Md., nearly 50 years ago. After earning his doctorate in English at the University of Tennessee in 1965, he taught at Southeast Missouri State University and then at Berry College, where he also chaired the department of English and was named Faculty Member of the Year and Charles A. Dana Distinguished Professor. In 1971, he acceded to academic dean at Berry, and from 1975-1978 was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Winthrop University.

            During his career, Moran served on and often chaired numerous civic, educational and charitable committees to include the United Way, the Boys Scouts of America, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the Peach Belt Athletic Conference, the South Carolina Association of State Colleges and Universities and Kiwanis International.

            Moran has also been awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

            He and his wife Margaret have two sons, Kevin and Thomas.

            Avent spent many years as president and chief executive officer of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Florence until his family sold the business on July 1, 2005. He is currently the general manager of Pepsi Cola of Florence, LLC.

            The lifelong Florence resident was a 1958 graduate of McClenaghan High School. From there, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina in 1962.

            His extensive community involvement includes his service as a board member for the following corporations and organizations: FMU Foundation Board of Directors, Seibels Bruce Group Inc., Miller Communications, Irix, the S.C. Soft Drink Association, the Boys & Girls Club of the Pee Dee, United Way, House of Hope Advisory and Development, the Salvation Army, and Coker College. Avent is also the chairman of the board of trustees at Central United Methodist Church.

            As a member of the FMU Capital Campaign Steering Committee and in many other ways, Avent has been an avid supporter of FMU. In 1977, the company established the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. Scholarship, which is funded annually. Avent and Pepsi also established the A.R. Avent Chair in History in 1987, and contribute to the Patriot athletic program and numerous other university endeavors.

            For his service to the community, Avent has been awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the United Way Ashpy P. Lowrimore Community Service Award, Florence County Chamber Business Person of the Year Award, Boys & Girls Club Champion of Youth Award and Board Member of the Year Award for the S.C. Soft Drink Association.

            He and his wife Jean have three children, Celeste Lindeman, Angela Lynch and Mary Holland.

#154/ 4-2-07
Last Published: April 3, 2007 2:37 PM
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