March 3, 2022

FMU board approves tuition freeze, naming of medical school and gallery

FMU board approves tuition freeze, naming of medical school and gallery

A tuition freeze, the creation of new programs, and the naming of two university facilities highlighted an eventful meeting of Francis Marion University’s Board of Trustees on Thursday.


The board took action on several significant issues at University Place in downtown Florence.


The meeting began with unanimous approval to freeze tuition for the fourth straight year.


 “FMU is determined to make education accessible and affordable for the people of South Carolina,” said Dr. Fred Carter, university president. “The Trustees’ action in freezing tuition year after year underscores their commitment to this effort.”


The board also voted to approve naming two prominent university facilities, beginning with the former Circle Park facility on Cheves Street in honor of Dr. C. Edward Floyd.


Floyd, a preeminent vascular surgeon and founder of the Floyd Medical Group, has been a leader in the advancement of medical care and treatment across the state for more than 50 years. He has been a strong advocate of Florence, FMU, and the Pee Dee through his civic and philanthropic efforts.


President Carter said that Floyd’s longtime support of the school and the community made him a natural choice for the honor.


“Eddie Floyd has been instrumental in the development of FMU over the past two decades,” said Carter. “He has also encouraged the growth of medical and health science education in the Pee Dee – both professionally and philanthropically. It is only appropriate that this building bear his name.”


The Dr. C. Edward Floyd Medical Consortium Building will house a new, multi-entity medical education consortium to further medical education in the Pee Dee. Participants in the effort are Francis Marion, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina. The consortium will advance and support a variety of initiatives related to medical and health science education across the region.


Construction on the building is set to begin this fall. FMU will operate the facility and offer medical, nursing, and health science programs in collaboration with the other two universities.


A graduate of the University of South Carolina in 1956, Floyd earned his medical doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1960. A board certified general and vascular surgeon who was known worldwide as a leader in the field.


Floyd has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 1982 and was board chairman from 1991-1996. In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as one of three U.S. Public delegates to the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations. 


Floyd is chairman of the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Florence which gives millions of dollars each year to community and charitable endeavors and has been a longtime partner of Francis Marion. 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.


In 2021, the foundation donated $12.5 million to FMU to further the development of medical education programs and facilities in the region, including the Cheves Street facility.


Board members also approved the naming of the Steven F. Gately Gallery at University Place in honor of the longtime FMU professor.


Gately joined Francis Marion University’s faculty in 1973 and was an associate professor of Visual Arts and the coordinator of FMU’s Visual Arts programs when he died unexpectedly last November.


Board members also passed a resolution approving a new Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree.


The four-year degree will be available to students in the fall 2023 semester. The degree will serve one of the largest agricultural industries in the state, which includes over 100,000 jobs and contributes more than $21 billion to the state’s economy annually.


FMU’s forestry program has drawn interest from the Darla Moore Foundation, which has voiced its support for creating and supporting the program at the university.


The board also approved the construction of a new engineering laboratory for the school’s fast growing engineering program. The lab will be approximately 5,000 square feet and cost approximately $1,000,000 to construct. The facility will be located on FMU’s main campus.