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Three FMU Professors Named Trustee Research Scholars

FLORENCE---John A. Britton, professor of history, Larry J. McCumber, professor of biology, and Benjamin Woods, professor of music, have been named Francis Marion University's Board of Trustees' Research Scholars.  They will be honored at a luncheon following the Feb. 20 Board of Trustees meeting.

The Research Scholars designation signifies outstanding scholarly achievements and the promise of continued scholarly activity in the future.

“I am pleased that these three outstanding faculty members are being named trustees’ research scholars,” said FMU President Fred Carter.  “Each of them has achieved distinction as prolific researchers and extraordinary professors.”

The appointment as a Research Scholar is for a three-year term and is

renewable. The Board of Trustees' resolution provides that six Research

Scholars would be named.  Currently, there are five as Fred David and Lorraine de Montuluzin were named the university’s first two research scholars in 2002.

 Britton was cited for his extensive scholarly work, primarily in 19th and 20th century international history, especially the relationship between Latin America and the United States in the areas of intellectual and media history.

A native of Jackson, N.C., Britton has been a member of the FMU faculty since 1972.  He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master’s and doctorate from Tulane University where he taught before coming to FMU.  He holds the Suzanne and Benjamin Gasque Professorship in history and is coordinator of FMU’s International Studies program and the pre-law program.

Author of five books and numerous articles and book reviews, Britton has been a contributing editor for the Handbook of Latin American Studies since 1991.   Volume 60 of this work will be published for the Library of Congress by the University of Texas Press in 2004-2005.  His book Revolution and Ideology: The Image of the Mexican Revolution in the United States, published by University Press of Kentucky, won the A. B. Thomas Award in 1996.  His most recent book is The United States and Latin America: A Select Bibliography, published by Scarecrow Press in 1997. 

Britton was the winner of the 2003 FMU Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship.  He also has conducted research on the history of McLeod Regional Medical Center and McLeod Health.

McCumber’s research interests include the mechanism of recognition of self from non-self in invertebrates, comparative immunology, and primary structure of proteins.  His most recent research involves antibacterial activity and normal flora of the crayfish.

During his career, McCumber has been awarded research grants totaling nearly $600,000.  He has published 21 research papers, made numerous presentations at professional science meetings in the United States and Europe, and serves on an advisory panel for reviewing grants for the National Science Foundation.  He received the 1992 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science.

A Mullins native and Lake City High School graduate, McCumber has been a member of the FMU faculty since 1982, where he is the Palmetto Professor of Biology.  Prior to that he was an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. 

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology at USC and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in immunology and medical microbiology from the University of Florida.  He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.

McCumber has lectured in public schools throughout the Pee Dee and has judged many local science fairs.  He is a member of the S.C. Academy of Science, the S.C. Branch of the American Society of Microbiology, the American Society of Zoologists, the American Association of Immunologists and the International Society of Development and Comparative Immunology.

Woods has given numerous solo piano concerts across the country, including Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City where he made his debut in 1985.  He has performed many faculty recitals, chamber music and solo concerts at numerous other colleges and universities, and performances at community concert series and festivals.  With the Florence Symphony, the Mississippi Symphony, the Baylor University Symphony and the S.C. Philharmonic, he has performed concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin.

He was one of 12 national finalists in the U.S. Information Agency’s Artistic Ambassador Competition, and one of 10 finalists in the Beethoven International Piano Competition.

Besides performing chamber music in the Woods Family Ensemble with his wife, Sherry, violist, and their children, Christopher, violinist, and Adrienne, cellist, he has collaborated in recital with the Firenze String Quartet, and with artists Sue Orr, soprano, Roland LeRoy Skinner, bassoonist, and William Mills, pianist.  He also has given recitals with Kathleen Vandekieft, Metropolitan Opera soprano finalist, Harold Jones, concert flutist, and Steve Maxym, principal bassoonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

He has conducted concerts of the FMU Chorus and the Florence Symphony Orchestra Choral Society.  He conducted the Florence Masterworks Choir and Orchestra in performances of the Poulenc Organ Concerto with William Mills, organist, and a performance of the Vaughn Williams From Unknown Regions, and the Haydn Lord Nelson Mass

A guest conductor before his appointment, Woods was named music director and conductor of the Florence Symphony, and served from 1996 to 2002, where one of his greatest triumphs was conducting a joint venture of the Masterworks Choir and the symphony, with the assistance of the West Florence and Wilson High School choruses, in a performance of the monumental Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

 In addition to directing symphonic literature, he conducted the Florence Symphony in collaboration with internationally known solo artists such as David Kim, violinist, Walter Hautzig and Raymond Dudley, pianists, and the Eroica Trio, as well as esteemed colleagues Robert Jesselson and Kenneth Law, cellists, Kathleen Vandekieft and Sue Orr, sopranos, Michael Kim, Charles Fugo, Kent Lyman and Dana Dixon, pianists, and many fine soloists of the Florence Symphony Orchestra and the greater Florence community.

He also was able to share the musical talents of his children, Christopher and Adrienne, in solo concerto performances, as well as the compositional talents of his wife, Sherry, who wrote a commissioned work, the Florentine Overture for the 50th anniversary of the Florence Symphony.

A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Woods has been a member of the FMU faculty since 1972.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and music education at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, a master’s degree in music from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and a doctorate in musical arts from the University of South Carolina.

#109 / 2-20-04

Last Published: March 10, 2004 10:03 AM
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