February 17, 2021
Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation boosts medical education with $12.5 million donation to FMU
The Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation is once again helping Francis Marion University broaden the scope and complexity of medical education programs throughout the Pee Dee region.
The Foundation, which has partnered with FMU on a number of important projects through the years, will give the University $12.5 million — $2.5 million each year for five years — to further the development of medical education programs and facilities in the region. The gift is tied to a new medical education consortium that includes FMU, the University of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
The donation will also assist FMU in developing the former Circle Park facility on Cheves Street. The City of Florence purchased the building and land, and conveyed it to FMU last year.
Dr. Fred Carter, FMU’s president, lauded the transformative power of the new donation.
“Dr. Eddie Floyd, Judge Haigh Porter and the other members of the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation have been strong advocates of both FMU and our medical and health science programs over the past decade and a half.” said Carter. “This is another example of their vision and staunch support. The education that young men and women will receive through these programs will change their lives. More importantly, it will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in this area who will see improved health care at all levels.”
The Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Florence. Its aim is to advance the general welfare of people in Florence and the surrounding region. The foundation supports a broad range of charitable purposes and is a long-time partner with FMU. University projects supported by the foundation in the past include the FMU Performing Arts Center, the Carter Center for Health Sciences, the Lee Nursing Building, the Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Complex, and annual nursing scholarships at the University. The foundation recently donated 148 acres to FMU as a site for its new environmental research facility and conference center.
Currently, FMU works with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine to bring third- and fourth-year medical school students to Florence to complete their education — primarily through clinical rotations with MUSC Regional Medical Center-Florence, McLeod Health, and HopeHealth. The new consortium will increase the number of USC students, add MUSC medical students, and work with regional hospitals to expand medical residency programs.
Planning for the development of the former Circle School and Circle Park facility will begin soon. Carter said construction at the Cheves Street site will depend heavily on legislative appropriations.
“I know that (Senate Finance Committee) Chairman Hugh Leatherman, Representative Philip Lowe and the other members of our delegation are keenly interested in this effort and strongly supportive,” said Carter. “We wouldn’t be where we are without their support and leverage within the General Assembly.”