May 5, 2018

Francis Marion celebrates spring commencement

Francis Marion celebrates spring commencement

Francis Marion University awarded degrees to 346 new graduates at its spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5.

The degrees included 334 baccalaureate degrees and 12 graduate degrees. It was part of one the largest graduating classes in an academic year in school history.

Honorary doctorates of Humanities were conferred on South Carolina Senator Harvey Peeler; McLeod Health’s Vice President of Patient Services and former FMU trustee, Teresa C. Anderson ‘79; and long-time Florence physician and the University of South Carolina’s Florence Campus Assistant Dean of Medical Student Education, Dr. William H. “Bill” Hester.

Peeler, a native of Gaffney, served as the commencement speaker and saluted the assembled graduates as “the future of South Carolina.

“And the future looks blessed,” Peeler said. “You (the graduates) are blessed.”

Francis Marion University President Dr. Fred Carter noted that the graduating class once again was filled with South Carolinians — 94 percent of the class is from the state — and lauded a recent State Senate initiative that would provide additional funding to state university that educate a high percentage of in-state students.

“That took a lot of courage on the part the senators (who supported it),” said Carter. He noted that Peeler, a member of the Senate Education Committee, was supported by State Senator Hugh Leatherman of Florence, among others, on that legislation.

Peeler  has been a member of the South Carolina Senate since 1981 representing Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union and York counties comprising South Carolina District 14. He was the Senate majority leader from 2005 to 2016, has served on the education, ethics, finance, interstate cooperation, transportation committees and is the chairman of the Medical Affairs Committee.

Anderson has served the Florence community since 1973 when she began working with Florence School District One. During her career at FSD1 she served as a coordinator for child development, parent educator and instructor of child development and developmental therapy. Anderson has been a member of McLeod Health’s leadership team since 2000 when she was named the vice president of patient services at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence. Anderson is a 1979 graduate of Francis Marion and served as a University board of trustees member from 1999 to 2008.

Hester is a distinguished clinician, with more than 50 years of medical experience as a private citizen and as a member of the United States Army Medical Corps. Hester returned home after two tours of duty in Vietnam to open his general and family practice in Timmonsville, which he operated until 1980. He worked in various positions with McLeod Regional Medical Center from 1980 to 2014. In 2014 he was named the assistant dean for medical student education at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine’s Florence campus in 2014.

Among the graduates were Lauren Gainey and Zachary Greenwood, the first Francis Marion students to graduate with both a Nursing degree and University Honors. To graduate with University Honors, students must complete 21 semester hours of Honors courses with a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Eleven students graduated Summa Cum Laude (“with greatest praise”) after completing degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher. They were Matthew Binchik, James Alvin Carter, Marc Joseph Casullo, Bridget Nicole Gainey, April Michelle Garrity, Taylor Lorraine Gray, Tyler Tristan Hughes, Melina Emily Much, Anna Kathryn Strickland, Jordan Leigh Stuckey and Emily Ella Wachter.

Twenty-four students graduated Magna Cum Laude (“with high praise”) in recognition of a cumulative GPA between 3.75 and 3.89. They were Matthew Ryan Bingham, Taylor Elizabeth Broach, Richard Lee Brown, III, Javier Bustos Jaimes, Courtney Sue Canipe, Alessandro Caselli, Salome Jessica Chavez, Jackson Gabriel Currin, Marilyn Rose Dean, Coen John Comer Hasenkamp, Brittany Danielle Hein, Sofia Charlotta Henning, Hanna Joyce Hooks, Grayson Andi Hucks, Emily Hope Johnson, Archange Cedric Kombou Kouamou, Marie Kahrin Krueger, Courtney Lea Nuckols, Lauren Danielle Owens, Brittney Nicole Robinson, Kalin Somone Smalls, Joshua Daniel Smith, Ann-Marie Wintrich and Ya Ping Yang.

Fifty students graduated cum laude (“with praise”) after completing degree requirements with a grade point average between 3.5 and 3.74. They were Abby Lee Adams, Dylan Audrey Anderson, Mackenzie Arnold, Kimberly Jane Boswell, Kaylan Elizabeth Bouchette, Andrew McKeithan Brown, Lauren Elizabeth Bynum, Michaela J. Cracknell, Sarah Christinna Deas, Abigayle Ruth Derrick, Crystal Lynn Ellison, Reed Fenters, Michelle Renee Gallo, Ronda Renay Tammen Gandy, Fenny P. Gehres, Katelyn Baylor Godwin, Zachary Bruce Greenwood, Zi Yang Huang, Heather Moore Ivey, Lauren Kelsey Jackson, Jenna Catherine Kight, Darius Vashon Lawson, Anthony James Lowry, Kevin Henry Mathewes, Jaessica Laney McNeill, Abrianna Savannah Miles, Olivia Julianne Miles, Elijah Moton, III, Wesley Arlen Oakley, Kara Jasmine Papeo, Kathleen Bryn Powell, Taylor Ann Powell, Andrew Cope Yeaye Quattro, Andrew Rewis, Jr., Hannah Shay Richardson, Levin Sandmann, Nicholas Alexander Schuster, Ashley Jordan Scott, Allison Chavon Season, Arien Antrone Seymour, Kaneisha Sharima Singletary, Harrison Francis Smith, Kennedy Amber Steen, Brittany Stuckey, Troy Van-Alen Tanner, Emily Caroline Tomlinson, Nicholas Judson Tomlinson, III, Noah Andrew Trammel, Stewart Patrick Wallace and Marley Bray Young.

Twelve students graduated with University Honors, which is awarded to students who achieve an overall grade point average of 3.25 or above and complete 21 hours in Honors courses with a grade point average of 3.25 in all Honors courses taken. They were Taylor Elizabeth Broach, Richard Lee Brown III, Lauren Ashley Gainey, Taylor Lorraine Ray, Zachary Brue Greenwood, Coen John Comer Hasenkamp, Jessica Laney McNeill, Melina Emily Much, Lauren Danielle Owens, Andrew Cope Yeaye Quattro, Nicholas Alexander Schuster and Joshua Daniel Smith.

Combined with the Fall 2017 class, Saturday’s grads made up the fourth-largest class of graduates at FMU in a single academic year. All four of the top classes have passed through the University since 2015-16.