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FMU trustees to consider naming of buildings


FLORENCE – During its quarterly meeting Friday (Feb. 6), the Board of Trustees of Francis Marion University was presented three resolutions naming university facilities in honor of faculty, staff and community members. 

The first of the three resolutions to be voted upon at the June trustees’ meeting proposes naming five buildings of the Forest Villas complex for past or current faculty members, and the community center at the complex in honor of a former staff member. The names of Roger W. Allen Jr., Alice B. Beaty, Marian Cusac, Dorothy King and Neal D. Thigpen will be displayed on the five villas while the community center will bear the name of Joseph E. Heyward. (bios below) 

“Each of these employees represents the very highest standards of faculty and staff service to the university. This honor pays tribute to the importance of both in our mission of educating students,” said Fred Carter, president of FMU.  

The recommendation to name the Forest Villas complex for these employees came after Carter asked FMU faculty and staff members last fall to submit the names of former or existing faculty and staff who have made substantial contributions to the university. 

“It is most appropriate to solicit faculty and staff recommendations for naming the buildings,” said Carter. “This reflects the unique relationship that this faculty and staff have with this board of trustees.” 

The second resolution proposes naming the Garden Courtyard project of the FMU Performing Arts Center for Beverly Hazelwood and Starr Ward, both of whom have made considerable contributions to the arts in Florence. 

Hazelwood served as the chairperson for the Performing Arts Center Building Project. She is the assistant music director for the Methodist Manor Assisted Living Facility and the director of music for Central United Methodist Church. She is also an accompanist for the Masterworks Choir. Hazelwood is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in nursing. 

Ward is a violinist and is currently the concertmaster of the Florence Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a soloist with the symphony. She graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in music education. She also gives private music lessons at her studio in Florence. 

The final resolution proposes the PAC’s amphitheater be named The BB&T Amphitheater in appreciation of the corporate gift of $325,000 will fund this outdoor space. 

In the president’s report, Carter today reiterated the university’s position regarding the state’s recent budget cuts. He contends the university will work diligently to preserve the institutions programs, faculty and staff positions and ensure its actions have a minimal impact on student activities and student life.


Roger W. Allen Jr.

Roger W. Allen Jr. began his career at Francis Marion College as an associate professor of mathematics in 1971, where he remained until his retirement, having become chairman and professor of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1986-1996. Before beginning his teaching career, he graduated with high honors from Auburn University and earned the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. While at FMU, he was awarded the Mamie Cole Gray Chair of Mathematics, and during the 1980-81 academic year, he was named Distinguished Professor due to his many achievements. He has served as an instructor at the University of Virginia and as an assistant professor at the University of Miami from 1968-1971. 

His efforts with the Advanced Placement Calculus Program and as an AP Calculus Institute teacher to certify high school AP Calculus teachers earned him respect throughout the state as a mathematics “professional educator.”  

Marian Cusac

Marian Cusac served at four universities, including the University of North Carolina and Mercer University, prior to coming to Francis Marion in 1977. Before her retirement in 1995, she had a profound impact as a professor of English and the coordinator of the College Life Academic Program. During her tenure at Francis Marion, she maintained membership in eight professional organizations, was a member of three scholarly societies, and was very involved in student activities. 

Cusac earned the Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Cusac’s true legacy is the level of respect she received from both her peers and her students. It has been said that, “her reputation goes beyond respect and admiration. She carries herself with grace and bearing, respecting humanity wholly and teaching through her life what is worthy and good.”  

Neal D. Thigpen

Neal D. Thigpen has devoted his entire career to the study of government and politics and has made a name for himself throughout the country for being an astute political scientist. Having received a master’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, he continued his studies there until 1970 to earn his Ph.D. in public administration. After teaching at Western Maryland College, Thigpen came to Francis Marion College in 1971, where he remained until his retirement in 2006. Thigpen created the Department of Political Science more than three decades ago and then became Chairman of the Department of Political Science and Geography. 

Thigpen’s professional service and scholarly activities have brought much attention to Francis Marion and have focused positive national attention on the caliber of educators throughout the Pee Dee are a and the Southeast. Thigpen is a master at cultivating contacts with the media and has been one of the most visible members of the FMU faculty, having appeared on many television programs and interviewed in countless national print publications throughout the years, particularly during a political season. 

Alice B. Beaty

Alice B. Beaty served as the director of financial assistance at Francis Marion for more than a decade. Beaty’s record of service to the university, however, started long before assuming that position. Her employment with the university began in 1962 as a temporary employee when Francis Marion was a regional campus of the University of South Carolina. She became a full-time employee in 1970. She held various positions on campus until her appointment as director of financial assistance. In 1979, Beaty earned a bachelor’s degree from FMU.

During her many years and various positions at Francis Marion, Beaty was truly a part of history as she participated in the change from a regional campus of the University of South Carolina to what FMU is today. She worked tirelessly, even on weekends, to ensure that all aspects of her job were completed in a timely and efficient manner. 

Joseph E. Heyward

For more than three decades, Joseph E. Heyward served with distinction as an employee of FMU, ending his service in 2006 as vice president for student affairs. During those years, he held positions as an instructor of mathematics, a counselor, the director of the University Center and the interim provost. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Hampton Institute in Virginia, a master’s degree at Morgan State University and a doctorate at the University of South Carolina. Heyward is a native of Florence and a graduate of Wilson High School. 

Having left Francis Marion for a brief period, he served as the assistant superintendent for instruction for Florence School District One, a position that gave him unique insight into the needs of education. Heyward has acknowledged that he tried to work hard for the University for two reasons – one being for the benefit of the university’s students and the second for the progress of higher education in the Pee Dee area.  

Heyward charted waters outside of higher education by working part-time as Sen. Fritz Hollings’ area representative. This work was done at night and on weekends, which demonstrates Heyward’s passion for making a positive impact wherever he is needed. 

Dorothy E. King

Dorothy King, or “Miss Dot” as she is affectionately known by so many, began her service to Francis Marion College in 1984. Starting as a cook in the cafeteria, her hard work, attention to detail and pleasant attitude led to her advancement as chief cook at The Cottage. At official functions, she helps to make guests to the university feel welcome. She is a very dependable employee, works well with others and has proven to be a team player, taking on any responsibility asked of her. The respect of her colleagues and her dedication earned her the “Employee of the Year” award in 2007.  

“Miss Dot” places great value and importance on serving others. Her smile and her eagerness to help serve to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere to university staff, faculty, and guests. 

#109 / 2-6-09

Last Published: February 13, 2009 2:48 PM
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