March 11, 2024

FMU honors noteworthy alumni at awards ceremony

Francis Marion University honored five distinguished alumni at its annual Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, March 7 at the FMU Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Shirley Bausmith (’91, ‘94) was recognized as the university’s 2024 Outstanding Alumnus. Bausmith received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from FMU in 1991 and a Master of Education with an add-on certification in Learning Disabilities in 1994. In December 2000, she received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of South Carolina. She joined the faculty of Francis Marion in 2003 as an assistant professor in the School of Education. During her tenure at the university, she served as coordinator of the Learning Disabilities Program, Center Director for Project CREATE, and Dean of the School of Education. She retired as Dean in 2017. Bausmith is actively involved on the FMU Alumni Advisory Board and the Past President’s Alumni Board. 

Tyler Pate (‘14) received the Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumnus Award. Pate’s artistic talents flourished at Francis Marion University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication with a minor in Art History. Today, he resides in Los Angeles, California, where he works as a full-time Art Director, developing and creating consumer product applications for beloved Nickelodeon properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Garfield. 

Dr. Philip Fulmer (‘89) was awarded the Professional Industry Award in Natural & Behavioral Sciences. Fulmer completed an undergraduate degree in health physics from Francis Marion before continuing on to Texas A&M University on a full fellowship. After many years working for a consulting firm, Fulmer and his wife returned to the Pee Dee region to pastor a church in Marion. Fulmer began teaching part-time for FMU in 2002, and eventually became a full-time professor of physics.

John Odorisio (‘83) received the Professional Industry Award in Business & Industry. Odorisio graduated from FMU with a degree in Business Administration, and went on to earn his Masters in Business Administration with a minor in International Business from Chicago’s St. Xavier University in 1999. In 2021, he concluded a 37-year career with Manheim Automobile Auctions, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., Atlanta, GA. Odorisio served the industry over the years in various committees and had the distinctive honor of being named President of both the Midwest and Eastern Zones for the National Automobile Auction Association. 

Dr. Harrell Docherty (‘89) was awarded the Professional Industry Award in Medical & Health Sciences. Docherty graduated from FMU with a degree in biology. He later went on to graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston with a Doctor of Medicine degree. Docherty completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Tennessee – Memphis. Since 2016, the Dochertys have been involved with Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus ministry in Belize, participating in medical missions. Every three months, the couple travels to help provide medicine, medical care and ministry to the people in the Stann Creek district of Belize.