December 19, 2022

From first generation to fixture: Tristan Shird has become an integral part of FMU

From first generation to fixture: Tristan Shird has become an integral part of FMU

When he first stepped onto campus in the fall of 2018, Tristan Shird, a first generation student  from the small town of Pamplico, was quiet and reserved. Today, he is anything but–a testament, he says, to the students and faculty of Francis Marion who urged him to immerse himself in the campus culture during his first weeks as a student. 


One of the first organizations Shird decided to join was the FMU Diplomats, a student group that assists with the recruitment of new students. This group, as well as the faculty and staff he was introduced to when he visited campus as a high school student, made a huge impression on him. In fact, the personal attention he received was unique to him during his college visits and was one of the things that really stood out to him about FMU. Being a part of the Diplomats seemed a natural fit and one that opened doors to so many other opportunities on campus. 


Shird has continued to serve as a Diplomat throughout his years at the university and has been active in many other areas including serving as an Orientation Leader and Patriot Mentor for new students, and has been a member of the math club, swimming club, and the NAACP. He has even donned the mascot’s costume as Frank the Fox for athletics and other special events over the past two years. 


Shird’s college experience has been full, something he says he would not change. 


“When I first started college, I was only focused on academics. I’m so grateful that I stepped out of my comfort zone and took advantage of so many of the other opportunities afforded to students at FMU,” said Shird.


On top of the extracurriculars, he has also excelled in the classroom and was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, an honors society for education students. He did all of these things while also working part-time in the Enrollment Management Office for both admissions and orientation.


“The involvement Tristan has had throughout his years at FMU, as well as his love for the university, shines through whether he is assisting in the training of new diplomats and orientation leaders or giving a tour to prospective families,” said Doug Brady, director of admissions. “The energy he brings to the office  is unmatched, and we are fortunate that his first role after graduation will be at FMU.”


Shird says he is thankful for the opportunities he has had to interact with so many across campus. While he may have just graduated, Shird will not be leaving campus. He has received multiple job offers at FMU and is eager to come back to the university where he will begin his career.  


“Francis Marion has provided me with an excellent education and more opportunities than I ever dreamed would be possible. I’m so thankful for not only the education I’ve received, but also all the experiences I’ve had here as a student. I feel so fortunate to be able to begin my career at my alma mater.”