FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University presented its 2002-2003 alumni awards at an Alumni Appreciation Dinner, Feb. 6.
The Outstanding Alumnus is Edgar L. Clements III. A graduate of West Florence High School, Clements was born and reared in Florence County. In 1979, he earned a bachelor of science degree in political science from Francis Marion, and was then employed as the director of youth ministries at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sumter from 1979 until 1982. He held the same position at First Presbyterian Church from 1983 to 1984 and at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Florence from 1985 to 1987.
Clements attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he earned a juris doctor degree in May 1990. He worked as the judicial law clerk for the Honorable John H. Waller Jr., Resident Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, and now Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Clements then worked with the law firm of Saleeby and Cox, managing their Florence office until he was elected solicitor for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit for Florence and Marion counties in November 1998. He ran unopposed in the last election and will serve as the solicitor for the next four years.
Clements was appointed by Gov. Jim Hodges to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board in February 2000 and also to the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence. He was appointed to the Magistrate’s Court Advisory Board by the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Most recently, he was asked by the State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum to serve on the Persistently Dangerous Schools Committee, which makes recommendations concerning our schools to the South Carolina Department of Education.
He is married to Lisa Hillary Clements, formerly of Dallas, and they have two sons, Zachary Adam and Benjamin Lewis. Clements is an elder in the Trinity Presbyterian Church of Florence, where he serves on numerous committees. His hobbies include sports and music, and he plays guitar and sings with the band, “Midlife Crisis.” He also performed in the Florence Little Theatre productions of “Smoke on the Mountain” and “The Sanders Family Christmas.”
This year’s winner of the Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumnus Award is Shelley Marie White. White earned a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from Francis Marion in 1998. A summa cum laude graduate, she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society. White is currently a second-grade teacher at Easterling Primary School in Marion, teaching all subject areas. To make learning fun and interesting, she uses costumes, puppets, and props for every subject, every day.
Having only taught for four years, White was Easterling Primary School’s and Marion School District One’s Teacher of the Year before becoming one of five finalists for the 2001-2002 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, conducted by the South Carolina Department of Education. In 2002, she was named the South Carolina Rural Teacher of the Year, and in October, White was named 2002 National Rural Teacher of the Year. She is the first South Carolinian and youngest teacher to ever win the honor.
While a student at Francis Marion, White won the Early Education Award, served on the advisory board for the Education Department, and was a member of the Education Club.
The Alumni Volunteer of the Year is 1992 economics graduate R. Tracy Freeman. He is the Central Savannah River (CSR) area alumni chapter chairman and a member of the Alumni Advisory Board.
While a student at FMU, Freeman was an admissions ambassador, resident assistant, and volunteer student helper for the Public Safety department. He also served on various advisory boards and committees.
Since graduation, Freeman has served as an unofficial “alumni ambassador,” volunteering to host campus tours for prospective students during Open House and throughout the year. He has personally recruited many students for Francis Marion. In years past, his family’s tour-bus service has been made available to transport FMU students to and from the annual Leadership Retreat, athletic events, and related activities. The first in his family to go to college, Freeman enjoys sharing his FMU experience with others – prospective students, parents, alumni, and anyone else who will listen.
Freeman attends almost every Advisory Board meeting, Homecoming, “Move-In Day” for new freshmen, Orientation, and Open House.
#100 / 2-6-03