FLORENCE -- For the first time in Francis Marion University’s history, gifts given to the university and to the FMU Foundation during the 1998-99 year exceeded $1 million.
Additionally, alumni contributions to FMU exceeded $100,000 for the first time. A total of 2,118 donors (of which 1,036 were alumni) gave financial support to the university. At the end of June, gifts to the university totaled $1,207,552, of which $641,000 was given to the FMU Foundation.
During 1998-99, nine new named scholarships were established. Also, in April, an endowed chair was created, honoring former FMU President Lee A. Vickers, and a scholarship was created to honor his wife Deanna. Vickers served as president of FMU for five years before leaving for North Dakota where he assumed the presidency of Dickinson State University.
Robert Williams of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Inc., Fred DuBard of DuBard Inc. and William W. Coleman, a member of FMU’s Board of Trustees, led a community fund-raising drive that generated more than $60,000 to endow the chair and scholarship.
Also, FMU received $300,000 from the estate of long-time FMU supporters and Florence business owners Garry and Joan Gladstone. Joan Gladstone died Dec. 31, 1998, leaving part of her estate to the university, including her home and its contents. Part of the gift is restricted for scholarships.
“Donors are really interested in seeing exactly how their gift will be used,” Elizabeth I. Cooper, vice president for advancement, said. Giving is more often being directed specifically, going to scholarships or campus-held events. This year, the university received more gifts in excess of $1,000, she said. The Gladstone estate, the establishment of the Vickers’ Chair, and $65,000 from the Bruce and Lee Foundation for area nursing scholarships greatly enhanced gifts this year, she said.