May 13, 2022

Brand receives FMU’s AAFSC Diversity Award  

Brand receives FMU’s AAFSC Diversity Award  

Brand receives FMU’s AAFSC Diversity Award

LaTasha Brand, dean of students at Francis Marion University, received the FMU African-American Faculty and Staff Coalition’s Diversity Award at the organization’s annual scholarship banquet Thursday night.

Brand, a native of North Charleston, has deep ties to Francis Marion University. Before graduating in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in English, she served as president of the Student Government Association. In 2004, Brand was hired to FMU as assistant dean of students, and in 2018 was elevated to her current position as dean.

The AAFSC Diversity Award is given annually by the coalition to highlight the work of individuals who are dedicated to celebrating diversity and inclusiveness at FMU and beyond. Thursday’s banquet was held at the FMU Freshwater Ecology Center.  

The Diversity Award presentation was just one highlight of the evening. Recipients of AAFSC-sponsored scholarships were also recognized, Florence City Councilman and FMU alum Chaquez McCall was the keynote speaker. 

FMU President Dr. Fred Carter announced the creation of a new scholarship named for Bishop Donald Jackson to benefit members of the Young Gifted and Blessed Choir. Jackson is the longtime advisor for the group and an FMU accountant. Carter also announced he would ask the FMU Board of Trustees to name the university’s Academic Computing Laboratory in honor of recently retired network administrator Teresa McDuffie. 

Both Jackson and McDuffie are founding members of the AAFSC. 

The AAFSC’s scholarships are funded jointly through the AAFSC and the Francis Marion University Education Foundation These include six endowed and four flow-through scholarships. Two FMU students benefiting from those endowments were recognized Thursday: Ma’kya Fitts, recipient of the Dr. Joseph E. Heyward Scholarship, and Jalen Miles, recipient of the Dr. LeRoy “Pete” Peterson Scholarship, were recognized during the ceremony.

The AAFSC was founded at FMU in 1995 to stimulate and enhance cultural awareness, and to promote professional development and welfare among faculty, staff and students.

The organization’s goals include increasing morale and communication among members; creating an atmosphere of community for FMU African-American faculty, staff and students; serving as a liaison between the administrative personnel of FMU and the African-American faculty and staff; and examining the university’s efforts in recruitment and retention of African-American faculty and staff.

Linda Sullen, a long-time employee in FMU’s payroll department, is the current president of the AAFSC.

Past winners of the AAFSC Diversity Award included Dr. Rebecca Lawson, Dr. Louis Venters, Ms. Angela Crosland, Dr. Rhonda Brogdon, Ms. Yvonne Davis, Mrs. Crystal Graham, Dr. Will Wattles, Dr. Jason Owens, Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, Dr. Shayna Wrighten, Dr. Erica James, and Dr. Daniel Brauss.