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Francis Marion University begins 37th year

            FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University officially begins its 37th year with the start of fall classes in August.

            A final orientation session for students will be held Aug. 3.

            A new faculty orientation is scheduled Friday, Aug. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Lowrimore Auditorium. Housing for new students opens at 8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, and housing for continuing students opens at 10 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 20.

            It’s still not too late to apply for fall classes. Students should contact the Admissions Office at 843-661-1231 as soon as possible, or they can file an application online through the university’s web site at New students must be admitted through FMU’s Admissions Office prior to registering for classes.

            Last-minute students will be able to attend an orientation session Monday, Aug. 21. Students also will be able to meet with their advisers for open registration and pay their fees on Aug. 21.

            FMU president Fred Carter will welcome all faculty members back to campus with a breakfast on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 8:30 a.m. in Ervin Dining Hall. A luncheon for new faculty and mentors will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the dining hall.

            The first day of fall semester classes is Wednesday, Aug. 23. Late registration and drop/add will be held Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 28-29.

            A number of events will welcome students back to campus. At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22, Baptist Collegiate Ministries will sponsor a “Welcome Back Cookout” on the Smith University Center lawn. A New Student Organizations Fair will be held in the university center commons from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 23. The fair will introduce new students to many of the organizations, clubs, departments and activities available to them at FMU. A magic show by Jason Bishop will begin at 7 p.m. in the McNair Science Building auditorium on Aug. 23. A “Welcome Back Jam,” sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will be held beginning at 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, in the university center commons. Area business will provide information about their services to students at a community fair Aug. 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the university center commons.

            FMU students have a new venue where they can socialize with classmates, grab a snack, and just relax. The Grille, a 4,770-square foot activity center, also will be available for use by student groups for special events. Located next to the outdoor pool, the Grille will provide an additional dining option for students throughout the day and evening. The menu will include grill items such as hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, wings and fries; deli items such as subs, wraps and salads; pizza and pasta; and breakfast items.

            The dining area seats approximately 90 people, and tables and chairs on the outdoor porch and patio will provide additional seating. With the opening of the Grille, the University Center Café has been closed permanently.

            The new Frank B. Lee Nursing Building will open this fall. The 30,000-square-foot facility is located on the north side of the campus pond. Until recently a satellite program of the Medical University of South Carolina, the stand-alone FMU nursing program has been in the process of expanding to provide more bachelor-degree prepared nurses. The program will increase the number of nursing majors this year by 50 percent, from 32 to 48. The facility will provide space for this expansion including classrooms, an auditorium, a clinical care lab area, and a computer lab.

            Also this fall, students will have wireless computer access at many locations on campus. Students with a laptop computer with a wireless card will be able to access the wireless computer network. Signs will be posted at the access points, including Rogers Library, Lee Nursing Building, Smith University Center, Founders Hall, Cauthen Educational Media Center, Ervin Dining Hall, Stanton Academic Computer Center, the Grille, outdoor pool, and residential areas.

            In June, FMU dedicated Hanson Park, located between the Cottage and Wallace House, in memory of longtime faculty member and administrator Gary Hanson who died last year. The 1.5-acre park has a garden-like atmosphere with footpaths, water pools and picnic tables where students and employees can find a quiet place for an outdoor lunch or to read and reflect. The park was designed in-house and all work was completed by FMU physical plant staff. 

            Through a partnership between FMU and the City of Florence, the university plans to construct a performing arts center in downtown Florence that will be partially funded through a $10 million grant from Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation. FMU’s fine arts program will use the center for theatrical and musical performances, and the facility will include office and instructional classroom space. The project is scheduled to be complete in late summer 2008.

            Several other major projects are in the works. Planned for the 2006-2007 year is construction of phase two of Forest Villas apartments, which will add another 200 beds to campus housing. 

            Also planned for this year is construction of the Center for the Child, a $3 million project to be located next to the Pee Dee Education Center, property that was recently deeded back to the university. The center will be an important teaching facility for the early childhood education and psychology programs and will enable students to get firsthand experience in dealing with small children. In addition, it will serve as a daycare facility for children of employees and students.

            Also on the drawing board is a $16 million building to house the School of Business and School of Education. This approximately 61,000-square-foot building will be built on the south side of the campus pond. Funding is expected to come from a state bond package.

            FMU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 disciplines and 10 graduate programs in education, business and psychology. The university also offers several pre-professional and cooperative degree programs with other South Carolina universities.          

#8 / 7-25-06
Last Published: January 3, 2007 3:43 PM
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