SPOTLIGHT: Francis Marion University

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The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost.

We’re happy this week to welcome a new underwriter, Francis Marion University, a public university located in Florence, S.C. It was founded in 1970 with a mission to provide the people of the Pee Dee, and of South Carolina, with high quality, yet accessible, university education. FMU has stayed true to that mission for nearly 50 years. In any given year, more than 95 percent of the university’s students are South Carolinians, and FMU is, by most measures, the most affordable college in the state.

Francis Marion University is, of course, named for Revolutionary War hero, General Francis Marion, who was nicknamed “The Swamp Fox” for his uncanny ability to use terrain, local knowledge and just plain old South Carolina common sense to outfox the British. Today, FMU prides itself on providing a strong liberal arts education for its 4,000 students, while at the same preparing them for careers in a broad range of fields.

The University offers professional schools in health care, education and business, as well as graduate programs in business, education and psychology. FMU’s new School of Health Sciences is adding new programs, designed to help deliver critical medical services to the community, on an almost annual basis, so great is the demand by students and the need in our region and state. Recent undergraduate additions to the University as a whole include Health Care Management and Industrial Engineering. The latter, just begin in 2014, is already one of the fastest-growing majors on campus.

The campus is situated on over 400 wooded acres of beautiful foliage and landscaping. A significant campus presence in historic downtown Florence is also developing. FMU’s Performing Arts Center is located there along with the Carter Center for Health Sciences, and the FMU Recording Studio, The University recently acquired more downtown property near the Carter Center, which will help support future academic expansions.

FMU has managed to grow while at the same time providing South Carolinians with, as noted, an affordable university education. FMU’s total net cost — tuition plus room, board and other fees, less scholarships and grants awarded — is South Carolina’s lowest, and by a considerable margin, according to calculations performed by a third party, FMU has managed this unusual balance of quality and affordability by avoiding capital debt, minding administrative costs carefully, and developing a culture of giving among its many friends and supporters in the Pee Dee and beyond.

  • To learn more about Francis Marion, visit online at


  1. Will Breazeale says:

    Francis Marion University is not as well positioned as mentioned in this article. It overall enrollment has remained stagnant despite new programs, it has the lowest graduation rate in the state (17 percent), it refuses to gain a football team even though it recently squandered $11 Million on an athletic complex for soccer and baseball with no chance of breaking even, its enrollment is majority black causing white flight to other schools, it recently had to close a satellite campus in Mount Pleasant due to a lack a enrollment in a Nursing program despite offering $2,000 discounts in tuition, the majority of Nursing seniors had to get special waivers to graduate because they failed the HESI test last year and once Hugh Leatherman is no longer a Senator, its funding source will dry up!!!
    Yes, I am an Alumni and son of a founding faculty member that has grown more disappointed with my alma mater as the years have passed while I watch universities like Coastal Carolina and the College of Charleston enjoy athletic and academic success.

  2. Thank YOU so much for your newspaper column & e-mail report. although the florence morning newspaper carried your column today sat 4/1, this is it’s , via YOU, first & ONLY mention of Pug’s death. perhapsi missed it &/or it was on the ‘net, but this was the first i heard [ tv or print]….woe is me & all of the flomonews readers & myrtle beach tv viewers. i do not know much & can & do NOT research;nonetheless, i agree with you that the sc demos hurt themselves & sc by denying pug’s run for governor. “the good die young”… jim harrison, pat conroy, pug ravenel…may GOD Bless us ALL, & May GOD’s Will Be Done ASAP IF Not Sooner
    ed davis

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