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EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to Francis Marion University

Thumbs up to Francis Marion University. Members of the Florence Rotary Club were treated to an excellent speech Monday by FMU President Fred Carter, who is responsible for much of our thriving state university’s recent success. In typical fashion, Carter gave the credit to others. It’s part of his endearing style. Carter deserves more credit than he wants to take, but the support he has orchestrated is the reason why FMU is thriving. Florence is blessed to understand and appreciate the dividends that can come from a special town-and-gown relationship. Carter credits state government, particularly our local delegation, the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation and the city of Florence. “I’m delighted to tell you that other cities are very, very envious of that process, because we found a way to make that combination to work in this area,” Carter said. All of them have been very good for FMU, but FMU in turn has been very good for the city, county and region. As Carter noted, when he first spoke to the Rotary Club 16½ years ago, he was asked if there was any way to make FMU more involved in the Florence community. “During those 16½ years, we’ve been able to shorten the distance, the six miles between the campus and downtown,” Carter said as he spoke at Victors restaurant in the heart of downtown. He noted that the campus now is one block south, one block west and soon will be 1½ blocks northwest of Florence’s city center. Carter highlighted one mission of the university, “and one probably in which I take the most pride,” he said. “The university, when it was created 46 years ago, was created with a purpose: to be the geographic center for a lot of the cultural and economic activity that existed in what was then a fairly barren region. … I’m very, very proud to say that, with the support of a lot of people in this room, the university has probably never shone more brilliantly than being able to essentially serve as that support of, not just in regard to activities that occur on campus but to the outreach programs that the university provides across the region.” The key has been outstanding leadership.

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