FLORENCE---Lorraine (Rainey) Knight, superintendent of Darlington County School District, and Mary Kay Belissary, director of rehabilitative services with McLeod Medical Center in Darlington, have been honored by the Francis Marion University Department of Biology with outstanding alumni awards.
Knight received the John S. Boyce Award, while Belissary was presented the Lawrence Swails Award. These distinguished alumni awards, named after the Biology Department’s first two chairman, were presented during a reception Nov. 14 on the FMU campus. This is the first of what is planned to be an annual recognition of outstanding graduates of the biology program.
Knight received her bachelor’s degree in biology in 1977 and went on to complete her master’s degree in biology from the University of South Carolina in 1980. She earned her doctorate in philosophy from the University of South Carolina in 1991.
Knight has been a teacher and a coach at Cheraw High School; an adjunct instructor at the University of South Carolina; has worked at the South Carolina State Department of Education in the Office of Research; and has been in the Darlington County School District as a secondary coordinator, a principal, an associate superintendent, and since 1999, has served as the superintendent of the Darlington County School District.
Knight lives in Hartsville and has one son, Harris. She is a member of the board of trustees at the Pee Dee Education Center, board of directors for Darlington Free Medical Clinic, board of directors for Rubicon and a former member of the board of trustees at Francis Marion University.
Belissary attended FMU from 1977 to 1981 and returned to campus in 1986 to finish her bachelor’s degree in biology. Before returning to FMU, Mary Kay received her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy in 1983 from the Medical University of South Carolina. In 1986, she earned her master of science in physical therapy from the Medical College of Virginia.
Belissary has been employed with McLeod Medical Center – Darlington since 2001 and serves as the director of rehabilitative services. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. She is an active area representative for “Wheels for the World,” a disability outreach program where people in developing countries are fitted for wheelchairs, and had the pleasure of visiting Cuba, China, Poland and the Ukraine with this organization. She is a past president of the 4H Foundation Board of Florence County, past board member of “Stirrups,” past secretary/treasurer and vice president for the FMU Alumni Association and is very active in her church.
She resides in Darlington and is the daughter of Katherine Belissary and the late Matthew Belissary, both of Darlington.
#69 / 11-15-06