FLORENCE, SC (PRESS RELEASE) – Francis Marion University awarded degrees to 379 new graduates at its spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6.
The degrees included 343 baccalaureate degrees, and 36 graduate degrees in Business, Education, Nursing and Psychology.
Notable amongst the newly minted grads were four Industrial Engineering majors, the first in that discipline in university history.
The three-year-old IE program is FMU’s first foray into engineering. The program was launched in 2014 to help provide a much needed supply of engineers to industry in the state and region. Industrial Engineers typically are involved in managing a variety of manufacturing and process positions.
Honorary doctorates of Humanities were conferred on to Francis Marion University Professor Dr. Rebecca Flannagan and Florence City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tempore Frank J. “Buddy” Brand II.
Flannagan, a veteran faculty member who’s spent more than decade heavily involved in faculty governance at FMU, also served as commencement speaker. She told graduates to take the time to enjoy life’s momentous occasions.
“You have been lucky to be here,” Flannagan says. “Some of you know that right now, but all of you will eventually know it. Take a moment and let that sink in.”
Flannagan just stepped down as chair of the university’s faculty senate. She served in that post for five years and spent 13 years total in faculty leadership positions. On July 1, she’ll become chair of FMU’s English, Modern Language, and Philosophy and Religious Studies Department. Flannagan teaches English at FMU.
Brand has been a member of the Florence City Council since 2005 and has served both the city and region for nearly 40 years. He has become a fixture of the area’s financial services sector as the Branch Manager for Interstate Johnson Lane, A.G. Edwards, Wachovia Securities and Senior Vice President of Stifel Financial Corp. He was elected the City of Florence’s May Pro Tempore in 2010.
Five graduates were presented the Blackwell Award, which is awarded, to the student, or students, with the highest grade point average (GPA) during their career.. This year’s Blackwell recipients were Rebecca J. Cross of Darlington, S.C.; Margaret A. Evans of Florence, S.C.; Reba Louise Gaskins of Mount Pleasant, S.C.; Devin M. Kellis of Florence, S.C.; and Natalie L. Stirewalt of Sumter, S.C.
Seventeen students graduated Summa Cum Laude (“with highest honors”) after completing degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher, along with graduating with university honors.
They were Anna Almazan of North Charleston; Savannah Barber of Florence; Rebecca Cross of Darlington; Margaret Evans of Florence; Joshua Floyd of Lake City; Reba Gaskins of Mt. Pleasant; Caroline Granger of Florence; Devin Kellis of Florence; Autumn Lupotsky of Johnsonville; Ashley MacNeil of Florence; Mary Mulholland of Sumter; Jackson McDonald of Mullins; Alexander Joyce of Sellers; Natalie Stirewalt of Sumter; Logan Turner of Pamplico; Emmeline Wheeler of Lugoff; and Colby Witt of Florence.
Eighteen students graduated Magna Cum Laude (“with high honor”) in recognition of a cumulative GPA between 3.75 and 3.89.
They were Kelly Anthony of Woodstock, Ga.; Eric Bailey of Florence; Briana Barzola of West Linn, Ore.; Andrew Belville of Florence; Lauren Dance of Lugoff; Caitlin Demers of Ladson; Lilasha Dervin of York; Michael Ducharme of Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; Jordan Ellis of Florence; Melena Fore of Marion; Caitlin Erb of Pamplico; Ann Foxworth of Effingham; Tyler Morris of Florence; Angelica Rainwater of Florence; Ja Roettlingsberger of Marl, Germany; Tyler Rogers of Darlington; Johnny Ross III of Florence; and Christina Xan of Florence.
Thirty-seven students graduated cum laude (“with honor”) after completing degree requirements with a grade point average between 3.5 and 3.74.
They were Austin Andrews of Columbia; Matthew Blackwell of Hartsville; Caroline Boone of Roanoke, Va.; Rubria Boone of Bishopville; Ashley Brayboy of Olanta; Brenna Bullard of Marion; Latiphia Coates of Graniteville; Whitney Conyers of Lamar; Maxwell Davenport of West Union; Rebekah Davis of Florence; Dax Doctor of of Florence; Leslie Eaddy of Georgetown; Kylie Floyd of New Zion; Eric Henderson of Florence; Diamond Hunter of Camden; Samantha Koelliker of Florence; Amanda McDaniel of Lake City; Cameron Poole of Darlington; Taylor Prince of Florence; Matthew Reaves of Florence; Joanna Savana of Florence; Taylor Shaw of Florence; Madeline Soucy of Conway; Aaron Stafford of Darlington; Morgan Stevens of Marion; Kyle Stewart of Hartsville; Robin Tange of Florence; Blake Terrill of Marcellus, Mich.; Jeffrey Tucker of Florence; Courtney Turner of Effingham; Deana Turner of Riverdale, Ga.; Marianne Vandiver of Belton; Mary Walker of Bennettsville; Brittany Waller of Florence; Anna Ward of Florence; Charles Watson III of Darlington; and Marissa Allis of Chester.
Honor cords were presented to 17 students who compiled a GPA of 3.25 or better and completed a minimum of 21 hours in Honors courses through FMU’s burgeoning Honor’s Program. They were Anna Almazan of Nichols; Kelly Anthony of Woodstock, Ga.; Rebecca Cross of Darlington; Rebekah Davis of Florence; Kelly Elliott of Florence; Jordan Ellis of Florence; Caitlin Erb of Pamplico; Caroline Granger of Florence; Mason Jones of Hartsville; Devin Kellis of Florence; Mary Mulholland of Sumter; Patrick Nettles II of Johnsonville; Aaron Stafford of Darlington; Kyle Stewart of Hartsville; Blake Terrill of Marcellus, Mich.; Emmeline Wheeler of Lugoff; and Colby Witt of Florence.