April 16, 2024

FMU to Present Honorary Degrees at Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremonies

Francis Marion University will hold commencement ceremonies for its spring 2024 graduating class on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. Both ceremonies will be held in the Smith University Center on campus and include graduates from the university’s four academic schools and college. 

Students from the School of Business and School of Health Sciences will receive their degrees during Friday evening’s ceremony. Donna Isgett, President and CEO of McLeod Health, will serve as commencement speaker and will also receive an honorary doctorate of humanities. 

Isgett was named President and CEO of McLeod Health in 2021. Prior to this role, she was the Chief Operating Officer at McLeod and also served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Quality and Safety. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgia State University and her Master’s in Nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina. She also received a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. 

During Saturday morning’s ceremony, students from the College of Liberal Arts and School of Education will graduate. Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr., Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, will deliver the commencement address and be presented with an honorary doctorate of humanities. 

Speaker Smith was elected to represent Sumter County in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2000. Since then, he has served on numerous committees including the House Ways and Means Committee, House Ethics Committee, and South Carolina Judicial Merit Selection Commission. In 2022, Smith was unanimously elected to be the 61st Speaker of the House. In addition, Smith is a founding partner of the Smith Robinson Law Firm. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from Wofford College and his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina. 

The university will also present honorary doctorates of humanities to the Honorable Debra O. Jackson during Friday evening’s ceremony and Dr. E. Lorraine de Montluzin during Saturday’s commencement. 

The Honorable Debra O. Jackson recently retired as the Chief Administrative Judge for the City of Florence where she served from 2009 until 2024. During her years of service to the city, Judge Jackson created both the Livability and Homeless courts for the City of Florence. She received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Francis Marion and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Dr. E. Lorraine de Montluzin is a professor of history, emeritus, at Francis Marion University, where she taught from 1974 until her retirement in 2005. During her tenure at the university, she was named Distinguished Professor in 1987, a Board of Trustees Research Scholar in 2002, won the Shared Governance Award in 1999, and was honored by the naming of the E. Lorraine de Montluzin Chair in Shared Governance in 2012 and the naming of the Emily Lorraine de Montluzin Research Room in Rogers Library in 2005. She is currently a part-time lecturer at the university. de Montluzin earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Newcomb College of Tulane University, and both a Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy in History from Duke University. 

FMU President Fred Carter will deliver remarks during each ceremony.

The ceremonies are scheduled as follows:

Friday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m.: School of Business and School of Health Sciences

Saturday, May 4 at 10:00 a.m.: School of Education and College of Liberal Arts