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Kassab Fellowships established to benefit students interested in community health

            Francis Marion University juniors and seniors who are majoring in nursing, psychology, sociology, biology or education will eliminate nearly one third of their tuition bill if they are recipients of new fellowships established in memory of John Kassab and in honor of Adele Kassab. 

            In an effort to support the community health program, Advancing Rural Community Health (ARCH), FMU is providing $1,000 Kassab Service Fellowships to students interested in a career that advances rural communities through health care, human service or related fields. Thanks in part to a gift by the Kassab Foundation, students will have the opportunity to participate in semester-long fellowships in rural community health settings throughout Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties.

            “These fellowships are just the latest example of the Kassab’s generosity to Francis Marion University, this community and the state. They have provided so much for this university and our students over the years. It is most appropriate that these student service fellowships will bear their name,” said FMU President Fred Carter.

            John Kassab, who died in 2003 at the age of 91, was one of the founding fathers of FMU. His leadership was instrumental in the South Carolina legislature’s decision in 1969 to create a four-year college to serve the higher education needs of the Pee Dee.

            John Kassab served as chairman of the Building Committee for the J. Howard Stokes Administration Building, the first structure added to the FMU campus. He and his wife, Adele, helped establish the Friends of Francis Marion University, an organization dedicated to helping the university through scholarships for its students and other aid.

            He also served as chairman of the Patriots Brigade, (now known as the Swamp Fox Club), an organization that raises money for athletic scholarships. He was an emeritus member of the FMU Foundation Board. The university’s tennis courts are named after him, and he received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from FMU in 1999.

            Adele Kassab has supported FMU since its inception in 1970. Kassab attended Converse and Coker colleges, where she pursued her love of music. She has spent her life involved in the studying, teaching and performing of music. Kassab has served as piano teacher, choir member, choir director and pianist, and has served in various community arts organizations and on various community-minded and special interest boards and church organizations. 

            On April 24, 1982, in honor of her love of music and for the university, the Adele Kassab Recital Hall in the Hyman Fine Arts Center was named for her. She has been a major supporter of the university’s music program. The Adele Kassab Music Scholarship has been awarded annually since 1971 to FMU students studying music. Kassab donated to the university the concert grand Steinway piano in the recital hall. She has also served in many capacities at FMU.

             She has served on the FMU Foundation board and continues to serve on the committee that plans FMU’s annual Art’s Alive Festival.

             Recipients of the fellowships must be full-time FMU students or part-time students if they are in the final semester of school. The fellowship is open to students who are majoring or minoring in nursing, psychology, sociology, biology or education and have a 3.0 GPA. Students who apply must also have a faculty sponsor willing to co-sign the application indicating their support of participation. Recipients must have demonstrated involvement in community activities and service. In addition, only applicants who express an interest in careers that advance rural communities through health care, human service or related fields will be considered.

            If chosen, students will be expected to complete pre-fellowship training the first week of the semester plus any other site-specific training needed, work three to six hours a week during the semester at the same community site, and report regularly to an ARCH faculty adviser. Students will also assist with medical screenings.

            “We believe this experience will lead students to seriously consider careers in historically underserved areas, where services in health care and human services can have such a tremendous impact,” said Darryl Bridges, vice president of student affairs, who will oversee the umbrella Rural Assistance Initiative program.

            Community sites to receive the service include rural physician’s offices, community health centers, alcohol and drug treatment facilities, mental health centers and after school programs.

            For additional information about the fellowships, contact Dr. Paul DeMarco, director of rural community health programs, at (843) 673-2886 or

#59 / 10-15-07
Last Published: January 3, 2008 4:11 PM
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