FLORENCE -- Receiving the Francis Marion University Outstanding Alumnus Award for 2000, which is presented to a graduate who demonstrates professional success, outstanding community service, and a strong sense of pride for FMU, is L. Morgan Martin, a 1975 political science graduate. After graduating with his B.S. degree, Martin went on to earn a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and currently, lives in his hometown of Conway with his wife Sonya and their three children, Mary Ashley, Morgan O'Bryan, and Hayley Elizabeth.
Martin has served as a criminal defense attorney in private practice since 1988 and is considered one of the state’s best trial lawyers. He has handled more than 250 felony cases, either as a prosecutor or defense attorney. Before starting his own practice, Martin served as assistant solicitor for the 15th Judicial Circuit for five years and as deputy solicitor for three years. He has been active in politics and was the chairman of the Horry County Democratic Party from 1984 to 1986, served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1990 to 1996, and was chairman of the criminal law subcommittee from 1993 to 1996.
Active in several professional organizations, Martin is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Last year, Martin was appointed chairman of the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission by Gov. Jim Hodges.
Cindy Faulkenberry Wood has been named the 2000 Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumnus. This award recognizes graduates of FMU from within the past 10 years who demonstrate success in their profession, actively participates in public and professional service, and conveys loyalty and dedicated service to FMU.
"Cindy exemplifies all that this award symbolizes," says Kelly Sellers, FMU Alumni Association director, adding "service, leadership, dedication and outstanding character." Wood earned a B.S. degree in elementary education in 1991 and a M.Ed. degree in 1994, both from FMU. She is on leave from Florence School District One and is currently employed by the South Carolina Department of Education as a teacher specialist assigned to Lee County. Teacher specialists are chosen and trained practicing classroom teachers who are contracted by impaired school districts in the state to assist them with modeling good instruction and with training their teachers in better classroom instruction techniques.
Wood was one of the first FMU alumni to receive National Board Teacher Certification, a demanding process that requires documentation of professional content, knowledge, increased student achievement, and preparation of a teaching portfolio outlining professional development and growth. She continues to mentor and support other teachers as they seek the national certification. She also serves on the Governor's Institute of Reading Task Force and has helped teachers to implement the Four Block Literacy model in classrooms. Her success rate with the program led the nationally known proponent of that teaching technique to ask her to travel nationally to help train other teachers in the use of this method.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Wood has maintained an active and on-going relationship with FMU. Within the Department of Education, she has participated on a Blue Ribbon Committee on Teacher Education, provided feed-back as a public school teacher to the NCATE visitation team and speaks regularly to education classes and the FMU Education Club. She and her husband, Sidney, a 1993 Francis Marion graduate, live in Florence.
For the first time, the FMU Alumni Association has selected an Alumni Volunteer of the Year. The award is presented in recognition of a graduate who actively assists in the continued development of the university and the Alumni Association through volunteer programs or projects. A 1977 School of Business graduate, Terry Williams, was selected for the honor. Williams actively participated in FMU activities as a student and as an alumnus, Sellers says. A leader on the university’s alumni association and business school advisory boards, Williams has made a commitment to raise funds for academic scholarships and has served FMU in many roles.
In addition to his role as a member on advisory boards, he has recruited partner volunteers for the admissions office; served as a mentor and speaker for current students and student groups; participated as a 1999 “Patriots on Tour” sponsor; led the School of Business Executive-in-Residence Fund; and served as chairman for the Annual Fund Golf Classic, the alumni association’s fundraiser for academic scholarships.
Recognizing the need for scholarships at FMU, Williams assisted the alumni office in planning, organizing, and directing the local golf tournament. Williams spearheaded the 1996 tournament effort, which netted the university $6,500 in scholarships. According to Sellers, Williams nearly single-handedly organized the Golf Classic each year since 1996. To date the fundraiser has netted a $40,000 for scholarships. Through his organizational efforts, Williams solicited participation from the on and off campus community and cultivated the support of local businesses and industries. Williams, a partner in a CPA firm, lives in Columbia with his wife, Martha, their son, Blake.