Dr. L. Fred Carter
Dr. L. Fred Carter has served as the president of Francis Marion University since 1999. He is longest-serving president in FMU history, and, at present, the longest-serving public college president in South Carolina.
Carter has led the university during a period of exceptional growth and development for the university. Carter has presided over the start of dozens of new academic programs, put the university on solid fiscal footing through thoughtful managemement and energetic fundraising, and firmly embraced the tenets of shared governance and academic freedom with the university’s faculty.
Carter’s entire career has been devoted to public service. both in and out of the academy. Carter has served as the Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Sanford, as the executive director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, and as the senior executive assistant to South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell. He also served as the chairman of the political science department at the College of Charleston and on the faculties of the University of Central Florida and Western Kentucky University.
Presently, he chairs the Governor’s Graduate Medical Education Advisory Council, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the S.C. Commission for International Cooperation and Agreements. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Carolinas Hospital System, the S.C. Bar Association’s Commission for an Independent Judiciary, the executive committee of the South Carolina Research Authority and board of the W. O. Powers Foundation.
He is the recipient of the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, and honorary degrees from the College of Charleston, Lander University and the Citadel.
His career service has been recognized by the National Governor’s Association (Distinguished State Executive Award), the American Association of University Professors (Ralph Brown Award), the S.C. Chamber of Commerce (Public Servant of the Year Award), the International Federation of German-American Clubs (Lucius Clay Award), the S.C. Humanities Council (Governor’s Award in the Humanities), and the S.C. Regional Council of Governments (Public Official of the Year Award).
Carter is a native Floridian. He received his BA degree from the University of Central Florida and was awarded its distinguished alumnus award in 1999. He earned his MPA and PhD degrees from the University of South Carolina and was recognized by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences as its distinguished graduate alumnus in 2006. He has authored five books and numerous juried chapters and articles.
Carter served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps and retired as a Colonel in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve.
He and his wife, Folly, have two children, Luke and Bryan, and three grandchildren, Chloe, Max, and Millie.
Folly Carter was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her baccalaureate and master’s degrees in education from the University of South Carolina. After teaching business courses in secondary education for a number of years, she served in the administrations of Governor Carroll Campbell (communications office liaison), Governor David Beasley, and Governor Jim Hodges (director of infant mortality reduction programs).
As the first lady of FMU, she participates in numerous local and state organizations, including the Florence Symphony Guild, Wildwood Garden Club, Allegro Literacy Club and the South Carolina Arts Alliance. Dr. and Mrs. Carter have two children, Bryan and Luke. Bryan is an international economist residing in London, England. He and his wife, Adele, have three children, Max, Chole, and Millie. Luke is a sophmore at Wofford College
The Carters attend St. John’s Episcopal Church.