Francis Marion University and Florence-Darlington Technical College both received significant financial gifts from Duke Energy Foundation as part of the company’s support of the university’s forthcoming Industrial Engineering Degree Program. The program is a partnership between FMU and FDTC, with some classes being held at FDTC’s Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). The undergraduate degree will be awarded by FMU.
The Duke Energy Foundation gift of $118,140 to FMU will provide $50,000 for a scholarship endowment and $68,140 for program infrastructure.
“FMU is appreciative of this generous gift from Duke Energy. The university is excited about offering the first engineering degree ever in the Pee Dee and the Grand Strand regions,” said FMU President Dr. Fred Carter. “We are also pleased with the collaborative effort with FDTC that has made this program possible.”
The Duke Energy Foundation gift of $98,000 to FDTC will provide funding for instructional equipment and materials to be used in the introductory engineering courses that FDTC will be teaching at the SiMT.
The gifts were announced Wednesday morning at joint press conference hosted by the two colleges at the FMU Performing Arts Center in downtown Florence.
“Access to a high-quality workforce is the number one deciding factor cited by most projects looking to relocate or expand in South Carolina,” said Mindy Taylor, Duke Energy’s district manager for the Pee Dee region. “Duke Energy recognizes that developing a high-quality, homegrown workforce benefits the communities we serve and makes it attractive for companies to expand their businesses here, and this partnership will make this region even more competitive.”
Dr. Ben P. Dillard III, president of FDTC, said, “We are very excited about this partnership with FMU along with the support and commitment that Duke Energy has made to our institutions. These engineering graduates will mean a great deal to the future economic viability of the Pee Dee area.”
The Industrial Engineering Program was initiated from requests by industry leaders to provide education for engineers in the northeastern region of South Carolina. A needs assessment and feasibility study was conducted by a group of FMU faculty members, including Dr. Peter King, Associate Provost and Professor of Biology; Dr. David Peterson, Professor of Physics and Chair of Physics and Astronomy; and Dr. Susan Peters, Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.
The engineering feasibility report indicated that FMU has the facilities to teach all required courses in industrial and mechanical engineering in partnership with Florence Darlington Technical College’s Southeastern Institute of Management and Technology and recommended FMU to start an industrial engineering program.