FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University is losing nearly a century of teaching experience at the university with the retirement of four longtime faculty members.
Makram Bishara, Lynn Croshaw, Belva High and Dennis Sanderson all officially retired this year.
Prior to coming to FMU in 1986 as a professor of education, Bishara was principal of Mullins High School. He said what stands out most from his time at Francis Marion is “the quality of the students that we have.”
The Egypt native received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alexandria University and his first doctorate from Cairo University. He also has education specialist degrees from George Peabody College and the University of South Carolina, as well as a doctoral degree in education administration from USC.
Bishara said he is proud to have represented the United States as a member of three international education delegations while a professor at FMU. He was also instrumental in bringing the first Russian exchange students to the Pee Dee.
Bishara retired from FMU in May, and is currently working as an education consultant. “I’m so busy, I don’t feel like I’m retired,” he said.
Croshaw, a professor of biology, was an original faculty member when Francis Marion was founded in 1970.
“When they opened the doors I was here,” Croshaw said. He added that what he’ll remember most about the university is “the tremendous growth over the past 30 years and being able to be a part of it.”
Croshaw is best known for making more than 100 models of prehistoric animals. In 1984, he donated 55 handcrafted replicas to the FMU Biology Department.
He received the B.S. degree in biology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and the Ph.D. degree in biology from the University of Maryland. He was instrumental in developing many biology courses at Francis Marion and served as the coordinator of the medical technology program.
Croshaw, who was named a professor emeritus in April, will continue teaching at FMU part-time. When the Mount Holly, N.J., native enters full retirement, he plans to travel with his wife.
High, a professor of education, joined the FMU faculty full-time in 1975. She received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and the M.Ed. degree from the University of Georgia.
The Hartsville native said it has been fascinating for her to see Francis Marion, a university designed to meet the needs of the Pee Dee, expand to have a global reach. She added that she particularly enjoyed working with international students through the Intensive English Institute, which is housed on the FMU campus.
High established FMU’s program for training school guidance counselors and also started the university’s Tech Prep program. “It’s very important for the university to maintain strong contact with the community,” she said.
She said she doesn’t have specific plans for retirement. “I don’t know what’s around the corner,” she said.
Sanderson, a professor of theater and art, served as chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and Mass Communication for 14 years. He came to FMU in 1973 to develop the university’s theater program, which he said was a group effort with the entire theater faculty.
“The most memorable event in my time at Francis Marion was the construction of the Hyman Fine Arts Center in 1980,” he said.
Prior to the center’s completion, Sanderson said, his office was located in an abandoned elementary school off campus. “I had to walk two miles down the road to get to my classes,” he said.
Sanderson, who received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from Kent State University and the Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University, said he is proud of the department’s ability to attain national accreditation. Although he officially retired July 1, Sanderson will remain as a part-time faculty member at FMU this year. When he retires in earnest, he plans to spend his free time traveling and playing golf.
Sanderson said he will miss Francis Marion. “Next to marrying my wife, the second-smartest thing I ever did was come to FMU,” he said.
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