FMU's Second President Thomas C. Stanton Dead at 77
Thomas Cousar Stanton, 77, of Florence, the second president of Francis Marion University, died today at Carolinas Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Born June 13, 1929, in Dillon County, Stanton became president of Francis Marion College in July 1983 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1994.
He provided outstanding leadership to the campus for 11 years, serving FMU during some of its most formative years. During his tenure, the university experienced a 70 percent growth in the physical plant, a 42 percent increase in enrollment, and a doubling in the number of faculty members.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of FMU’s second president, Tom Stanton, who was such a dear friend and supportive colleague,” said FMU President Fred Carter. “Not only was he an extraordinary educator and administrator, but during the course of his career, he also served as an ordained minister, a career military officer and a Vietnam veteran. Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to his family.”
During the Stanton years, FMU’s physical plant continued to grow with construction of six dormitories, additional apartments, a housing office and dining hall. The faculty grew from 105 to more than 200, and new undergraduate programs were added in business administration, art, art education, theatre arts and physics. New graduate programs in business, learning disabilities and school psychology were also developed.
In 1992, the legislature changed the name of the institution to Francis Marion University. By 1993, enrollment topped 4,100, and minority students increased from nine percent to more than 21 percent of the student body. Stanton created the endowed faculty chair program and increased fund-raising from the private sector to create more scholarship opportunities for students.
An academic computer center was constructed in 1988 and named in honor of President Stanton. An addition to the science building was completed in 1994 and named in honor of Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman.
During this period, not only did the library’s usage double, but so did its holdings. Student organizations grew from 33 to 64 and a health center was created with a registered nurse on duty five days a week.
The athletic program continued to mature, and the women’s basketball team won its second national championship—this time in the NAIA. In 1993, the university joined the NCAA Division II for intercollegiate competition.
Before coming to Francis Marion, Stanton served for seven years as vice president for academic affairs and professor of business administration at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Earlier, he taught in the department of business administration and served for a year as its chairman.
In 1972, he retired as a lieutenant colonel from active duty in the U.S. Army. While on military assignments in Germany and Korea, he completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, receiving the degree in 1960. He was also awarded numerous military medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam.
He received a master’s degree in financial management in 1966 from George Washington University while serving in Washington, D.C., as a financial management staff officer at the Pentagon.
He then was sent to Iran as a senior financial management adviser to the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces. It was there at Teheran University that he began his college teaching career, in an English-language master of business administration program which he developed.
Returning to his work at the Pentagon in 1970, he also became an associate professorial lecturer at George Washington University, where he studied for and received a doctor of business administration degree in 1974.
Stanton is a certified business appraiser and has served as a consultant to many businesses, particularly in the Virginia and Washington, D.C. area.
An active researcher and writer, he has written numerous articles on the state of the economy, business prospects, and accounting procedures for professional publications, and has been a speaker at a number of regional and national meetings. In 1975, he won the Annual Author’s Award from the Association of Government Accountants for the best article on financial management.
Stanton served on the advisory board of Southern National Bank in Florence and on the board of the Pee Dee Heritage Center. He is a member of the Florence Rotary Club, and as an ordained Baptist minister has spoken at many area churches. He was pastor of Zoar Baptist Church in Bristersburg, Va., for nine years.
He was married to Sara Louise Thomas Stanton, who died in December 2005. They had two children, a daughter, Sara Kate Stanton Monk, and a son, Thomas Cousar Stanton Jr., and three grandchildren, Emily Sara Monk, Mary Kate and Michael Thomas Stanton.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home in Florence.
#50 / 10-9-06