BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR FRANCIS MARION UNIVERSITY
Francis Marion University
The Cottage, Hendrick Room
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 4:00 pm – 4:35 pm
Dr. H. Randall Dozier, Vice-Chair
Mr. Jody Bryson
Mr. William W. Coleman, Jr.
Mr. H. Paul Dove, Jr (by web meeting)
Mr. L. Franklin Elmore (by web meeting)
Mr. R. Tracy Freeman
Mr. William Edward Gunn (by web meeting)
Mrs. Patricia C. Hartung (by web meeting)
Mr. Kenneth W. Jackson
Mr. Stephen N. Jones
Mr. Floyd L. Keels
Ms. Karen Leatherman
Mr. George C. McIntyre
Mr. Mark S. Moore (by web meeting)
Dr. J. Kevin O’Kelly
Mr. Darryl Bridges, Vice President for Finance and Facilities
Dr. Fred Carter, President
Mr. Matthew Christian, Morning News Reporter
Mrs. Kim Davis, Executive Assistant to the President
Mr. Larry Falck, Director of Multimedia Services
Mr. Glen Gourley, Chair of the Faculty and Professor of Theatre Arts and Speech – Directing
Mr. Murray Hartzler, Director of Athletics
Dr. Christopher Kennedy, Vice President for Student Life
Dr. Peter King, Provost
Mr. Alfonso Leggette, SGA President for 2020-2021
Mr. Joshua Lloyd, Digital Media Coordinator
Mr. Tucker Mitchell, Vice President of Communications
Mrs. Lauren Stanton, Executive Director of the Francis Marion University Foundation
Mr. John Sweeney, Communications Office Staff
Dr. Charlene Wages, Vice President for Administration and Planning
Dr. Dozier called the meeting to order at 4:00 pm, and then he asked Mrs. Davis to call the roll. He noted for the record that Mr. Lee has an excused absence. Dr. Dozier then stated for the record that media notification was made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and that a quorum was present.
Dr. Dozier brought the minutes of the March 4, 2021 meeting before the board for approval. There being no objections, the minutes received unanimous approval by the board.
Executive Affairs Committee:
Dr. Dozier presented the following resolutions to the board:
- Resolution 04-21 for Approval to Seek Refinancing of the 2009A Athletic Facilities Revenue Bond and New Funding for Athletic Facility Improvements, which comes from the committee with unanimous approval. Dr. Dozier made a motion that the resolution be approved. There being no objections, the minutes received unanimous approval by the board.
- Resolution 05-21 to amend the Campus COVID Protocols – Summer 2021, which comes from the committee with unanimous approval. Dr. Dozier made a motion that the resolution be approved. There being no objections, the minutes received unanimous approval by the board.
Academic Affairs and Accreditation Committee:
Mr. Bryson gave the following report from the committee meeting:
- Even with the pandemic continuing, there were four General Faculty Meetings held this year in accordance with COVID protocol. There were a total of 187 academic proposals that were studied and approved by the faculty during these meetings.
- Dr. Mark Blackwell was re-elected Vice-Chair of the Faculty and Dr. Karen Fries was re-elected Secretary at the last meeting of the Faculty Senate.
- The Office of Admissions hosted a very successful Scholarship Awards Day on May 1 at the Performing Arts Center. The event honored those Fall 2021 new freshmen who were awarded an academic scholarship and also served as an orientation for the 75 students that attended.
- Summer orientations have returned to an in-person format. The number of orientations scheduled for this summer has been increased to 11 to help maintain social distancing. This includes the Scholarship Awards Day held on May 1.
- Registration sessions for new freshmen and transfer students are being held virtually to further assist with adherence to social distancing protocols.
- There were 387 (324 undergraduates and 63 graduate students) that graduated in May, and 330 of those students participated in one of the three commencements that were held for the Spring 2021 graduates. This is the largest graduating class in the university’s history.
- All outgoing university travel has been suspended until December 31, 2021.
- Mark Blackwell is staying in contact with foreign students at sister schools who wish to enroll at FMU once it is safe to travel to the United States.
- The School of Education has just received notice of re-accreditation through 2027 from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
- The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education had just approved accreditation for the MSN/Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program through 2025.
- An update was given on the university’s compliance with the Reinforcing Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage (REACH) Act which was signed by Governor McMaster on April 28, 2021. It requires all new freshmen beginning in Fall 2021 and thereafter to complete course work that includes reading the following:
- the United States Constitution in its entirety
- the Declaration of Independence in its entirety
- the Emancipation Proclamation in its entirety
- a minimum of five essays in their entirety from the Federalist Papers as selected by an instructor
- one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle
The university is compliant with the REACH Act and has put into place changes in the General Education program which cover this subject matter. The University Catalog has been amended to reflect these changes as well.
Mr. Bryson concluded his report.
Development and Alumni Committee:
Mr. Moore shared the following report with the board:
- The Foundation Golf Tournament was held on May 28 at the Country Club of South Carolina.
- The Foundation has received the following gifts:
- The Rachel Hodges International Travel Fund: This fund supports a first generation female student from the Pee Dee region who needs assistance for international travel.
- The Linda Sullen Endowed Scholarship
- The Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony was held on May 4 at the Performing Arts Center. Award recipients for 2021 were as follows:
- Deborah Hopla – Outstanding Alumni
- Linward Edwards – Professional Industry Award in Public Service in Law
- Keith Callicut – Professional Industry Award in Education
- Jennifer Darr – Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumna Award
- The School of Business Alumni Reception was held on March 30 at the Performing Arts Center. Mr. Paul Seward was awarded the 2021 Morgan B. Coker Outstanding Alumni Award.
Regional and Community Programs:
- The University Place Gallery has had three exhibits since the beginning of January. The current exhibits are by artists Daniel Kariko and Michael Cassidy and will run through June 18.
- The Richardson Center for the Child is currently working on revitalizing space for an interactive children’s library.
- The Fresh Air Fest concerts held at the Performing Arts Center during Spring 2021 were very successful. Also the Allman Betts Band performed two concerts at the PAC on May 27.
- A Primary Health Care Provider Symposium will be held at the Carter Center for Health Sciences on June 4. Over 80 providers are registered for this event.
- The Local Government Leadership Institute had 25 participants for this session which concluded on April 9. The next class will begin in September.
Mr. Moore concluded his report.
Finance and Facilities Committee:
Mr. Gunn shared the following information from the committee meeting:
- Resolution 03-21 for University Budget Approval, which comes from the committee with unanimous approval. Mr. Gunn made a motion that the resolution be approved. There being no objections, the minutes received unanimous approval by the board
- As of May 15, 98.3% of estimated revenue for Spring 2021 has been collected.
- The university continues to apply for federal relief funding to recapture revenues lost due to COVID-19.
- Construction of the conference center and research center at the Freshwater Ecology Center is progressing according to schedule.
- The facilities staff are preparing to begin extensive deferred maintenance projects pending the passage of the state budget for 2021-2022 which includes funding for these projects
Mr. Gunn concluded his report.
Student Life and Athletics Committee:
Ms. Leatherman gave the following committee report:
Student Government Association:
- Ty Robinson, SGA President, gave a State of the Student Body address on March 16 which was well received. This event was followed by a very successful K-12 Education Symposium held on April 6 at the Performing Arts Center. The keynote speaker for the symposium was Molly Spearman, South Carolina State Superintendent of Education.
- Alfonso Leggette, a junior from Lugoff, was elected as the new SGA President for the 2021-22 academic year. He is pursuing his degree in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications. He plans to attend law school after graduating from FMU.
- SGA Initiatives for the 2021-22 academic year:
- Establish “Ask SGA” on the SGA website
- Support the start of an FMU Black Student Union and other student unions
- Increase SGA involvement in the Florence community
- Volunteer at local high schools through SGA Leadership Programs
- The COVID-19 Response Office reported that there have been 122 positive COVID cases on our campus during the Spring 2021 semester, which is significantly lower than any other four-year college or university in the state.
- The President’s Bowl was held again this semester with sixteen teams participating.
- The Student Life Office hopes to offer a normal schedule of events during Fall 2021 including the following:
- Welcome Week activities during the first week of classes
- First Friday Music Festival scheduled for August 27
- A Dry Ice – Ice Cream Creation Event hosted by the Chemistry Department
- English Department is planning a Poetry Slam event
- Student Affairs Activity Fair
- Food Truck Thursdays
- After Dark events
- FM A’Glow
- In accordance with Bill S.231, FMU Student Identification Cards will now have phone numbers for the following printed on the back:
- National Suicide Prevention Life Line
- National Sexual Assault Hotline
- FMU Campus Police
- The average GPA for student athletes in Spring 2021 is 2.913.
- 139 (54%) of the university’s student athletes who earned a 3.0 or higher GPA during the Spring 2021 semester were named to the FMU Swamp Fox Honor Roll, and 23 of them had a 4.0 GPA.
- There were 17 student athletes inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society. Over the past 21 years, the university has had 227 athletes inducted into this honor society.
- The Athletic Auction raised a record $30,791. Bids were taken on-line and live, and there were a total of 152 registered bidders.
- Former women’s basketball player, Brittany Young, was hired at Austin Peay as the Women’s Basketball Coach.
- Jared Beauchamp, former men’s soccer player, was hired as the Women’s Soccer Coach at Albany State.
- Head Men and Women’s Tennis Coach, Garth Thomson, will be retiring on June 30, 2021.
- Former women’s basketball player, Pearl Moore, will be among the 2021 class inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
Ms. Leatherman concluded her report.
Dr. Carter made the following comments during his report:
- Faculty, staff, and students are to be commended for closely adhering to all COVID-19 protocols mandated on campus, thus allowing the university to have the lowest COVID rates of any four-year college or university in the state of South Carolina.
- The university is in fine shape financially as the fiscal year comes to an end. Due to COVID-19, events that would have normally occurred during the year did not happen which helped reduce expenses. As the fiscal year closes, the university’s budget reflects the following:
- Unallocated contingency of $4.8 million in the university’s operating fund
- $11.8 million in maintenance reserve funds
- $7.1 million in the Development Foundation
- The Education Foundation has $38 million in assets, and endowments equal approximately $28 million
- The state legislature is currently in the process of finalizing the budget for 2021-2022. Provided that the appropriations in the budget for FMU are approved, there is a possibility that the university will have two buildings funded:
- The Circle Park Building is in the Senate version of the appropriations bill, fully funded at $21 million.
- A new School of Business and School of Education Building is in the House version of the appropriations bill, fully funded at $23 million.
If the appropriations for these buildings are approved by the legislature, these buildings will be constructed over the next three years, along with the Freshwater Ecology Center which will be completed in December. In addition, the Leatherman Medical Education Complex and the Honors Center have just been completed within the past year.
There should also be an appreciable level of funding in the university’s appropriations for deferred maintenance projects. Currently there is $4 million in the House version of the appropriations bill and $8.9 million in the Senate version. Pending deferred maintenance projects include:
- Repairing sidewalks
- Paving some of the university parking lots
- Renovating and refurbishing some of the buildings across campus to include Founders Hall, Leatherman Science Facility, McNair Science Building, and the Library.
Appreciation was extended to Senator Hugh Leatherman, Rep. Phillip Lowe, Rep, Jay Jordan, Rep. Roger Kirby, Rep. Terry Alexander, and Rep. Robert Williams for their excellent work in guiding the university’s appropriations through the House and Senate.
- Academic programs that will start within the next few years are:
- Doctorate in Occupational Therapy
- Doctorate in Physical Therapy
- Undergraduate program in Veterinary Studies
- Undergraduate and Graduate programs in Environmental Science
- The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 29.
Dr. Carter concluded his report.
Dr. Dozier adjourned the meeting at 4:35 pm.
Floyd L. Keels