FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University athletic officials have announced the establishment of the Joseph B. DuRant Athletic Scholarship, honoring the late Florence philanthropist.
A $50,000 donation by the DuRant family will endow the scholarship, which will assist a student-athlete at FMU. Preference will be given to student-athletes from Florence County who have attained a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Repeat awards will be available for a recipient who meets the scholarship criteria. The amount of the scholarship will vary.
The FMU athletic program sponsors 14 intercollegiate sports, seven each for men and women. The recipient may be a member of any of the 14 squads.
The university also named its annual intercollegiate volleyball tournament in honor of DuRant, as well as placing signage honoring the Lake City native in the Smith University Center.
DuRant died in February 2003 at the age of 96. A graduate of Furman University, he taught in Florence area schools. He later became a contractor and developer. He was presented with the Order of the Palmetto in 1997, and was awarded the key to the city of Florence.
DuRant previously made several other donations to Francis Marion, including an endowed academic scholarship and real estate.
His donations also supported many Florence area organizations.
“The Patriot athletic program will greatly benefit from the generosity of the DuRant family,” said FMU athletic director Murray Hartzler. “He supported the university in many different ways, and we are grateful that he decided to extend his giving to the athletic program. Gifts like this allow us to be competitive on the NCAA Division II national level.”