FLORENCE, S.C. — Francis Marion University trustees voted Thursday to extend President Fred Carter’s contract and to name a building after Hugh and Jean Leatherman.

The Leathermans’ names will be on the university’s Medical Education Complex. Hugh Leatherman is a state senator from Florence.

“I’m so pleased that the board took this action to name that building after them,” Carter said. “That medical complex will be a cornerstone to the things that we will build in the future with regard to medical and health education in Florence.”

Carter said he is pleased to see that the board included both Hugh and Jean in the name because together they do so much for the community, including education, road construction and Veterans Park support.

“They do so much in virtually every area in the Pee Dee,” Carter said.

The Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Education Complex will house several of FMU’s health sciences programs, including the speech language pathology, behavioral health and the clinical psychology programs.

The medical complex is in the old U.S. post office building. The building is expected to open in early to midspring of 2021, Carter said.

Hugh Leatherman has served in the South Carolina Senate since 1981. He has served as a trustee and a trustee emeritus on the FMU board since 1988, said Robert Lee, chairman of the board.

Hugh and Jean are “passionate advocates in medical, nursing and health care education to better meet the needs of South Carolinians, especially in the Pee Dee region,” Lee said.

Jean Leatherman has been a real estate agent in the community. She has been a supporter of education in Florence One Schools and FMU, according to an FMU announcement.

In addition to naming the new medical education complex, the board voted to extend Carter’s contract three more years through the 2025-26 academic year.

“I’m deeply appreciative the board has put faith in me,” Carter said. “Folly and I enjoy this community very, very much. This is our home, and we’re pleased at the opportunity to stay and do this job.”

Carter has served as the president of FMU for 20 years and is the longest-serving college president at FMU and in South Carolina.

With the extension of Carter’s contract, the board also approved naming Carter the university’s first president emeritus.

According to the university announcement, when Carter’s latest contract extension is finished, he will have the option to return to the FMU faculty.

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