FLORENCE---Robert Sethfield (Seth) Smith of Florence has been named recipient of the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Chair in Physics at Francis Marion University.
The announcement was made Thursday night (Jan. 30) at a campus dinner honoring Smith and the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees. The faculty chair is endowed by a $100,000 gift from Pee Dee Electric as part of a half million dollar donation to FMU’s Campaign for Excellence. This is the first chair to be funded in physics at FMU.
FMU President Fred Carter praised the generosity of Pee Dee Electric’s Board of Trustees and its president and CEO Robert W. Williams Jr. “Pee Dee Electric has taken a leading role in promoting educational opportunities at all levels throughout this region of South Carolina,” he said. “Pee Dee Electric is one of FMU’s leading beneficiaries with gifts totaling $745,000 over the years.”
“Seth Smith is the ideal choice for this first chair in physics,” said Richard Chapman, FMU provost. “He is dedicated to the teaching profession, and he is a true scholar as reflected in his exemplary teaching and strong commitment to research and service to the college and community.”
A professor of physics, Smith has been a member of the FMU faculty since 1989. Prior to that, he taught at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville and at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
A native of Florence, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from FMU in 1983 and received a master’s (1985) and doctorate (1987) in physics from Louisiana State University.
Among his scholarly activities, he has received numerous research grants of more than a quarter million dollars during his FMU tenure, including three from the National Science Foundation. His primary research interest is laser physics. He is author of numerous scientific publications and has served as a proposal reviewer with the National Science Foundation Young Scholars Program.
Smith was named FMU’s Distinguished Professor for the 1999-2000 year.
Pee Dee Electric is a cooperative electric utility serving member-owners in six counties of the Pee Dee region.
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