FMU Board approves 2 percent tuition increase

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

In their final meeting of the calendar year, the Francis Marion University Board of Trustees approved a two percent tuition increase and welcomed a new chairman. Ken Jackson turned his gavel over to Robert Lee, who spoke highly of the work that Jackson has done in his 20 years of service so far on the board.

When presenting the budget and the two percent tuition increase, Trustee Stephen Jones said that an increase in costs outside of the university’s control necessitated the increase.

“In the budget resolution, there is a two percent increase in tuition and fees, which will generate approximately $740,000. This increase is primarily due to the increase in employer fringe costs that are being felt do to a one percent increase in retirement contributions and a 6.2 percent increase in health insurance costs. This increase will be a $102 per semester for resident undergraduate students.”

Even with the increase, FMU’s tuition is still lower than many other institutions in the state. Of the colleges and university’s that have raised tuition this year, as of the trustee meeting, FMU is lower than most, including The Citadel’s 3.25 percent increase, Coastal Carolina’s 3 percent and College of Charleston’s 2 percent.

Three resolutions were before the board to approving the naming of several labs and a road on the FMU campus for faculty who made great contributions to the university and its students.

Dr. Tom Roop served in the Biology Department, teaching physiology his entire career at FMU (1972 until his retirement in 2004) and was integral in developing the biology department and program. He started Ars Medica, the pre-med student organization and was instrumental in starting both pre-medical and pre-dentistry programs. He passed away in 2017. The board approved the naming of the physiology lab as the Tom Roop Physiology Laboratory.

Trustee Karen Leatherman said that Roop was an excellent professor when she was a student at FMU.

“I would like to say, because I was a biology major and I had Dr. Roop, that he is probably one of the finest teachers I ever had,” Leatherman said. “When I went on to get my masters in Exercise Physiology, his physiology class prepared me so much better than any of the other students in that program. He exemplified what a teacher is. He knew you personally, he cared about his students and he made it fun.”

President Dr. Fred Carter said that Roop helped many FMU students get into medical school.
“As many of you in this room know, Tom Roop got more of our students into medical school than probably the rest of our faculty combined,” Carter said. “Tom had enormous reputation with the medical school admission committee throughout the southeast. His recommendation was solid gold with those committees.”

Another professor with a long tenure at FMU and a legacy of helping create programs on the campus was Dr. David Peterson. He also passed away in 2017, while still a member of the Physics and Astronomy Department. The board approved naming the current Nuclear Physics lab the David M. Peterson Nuclear Physics Laboratory sponsored by Duke Energy.

“I would speak to the unique significance of this laboratory,” Carter said. “David was largely responsible for bringing the nuclear aspects of physics to this campus. As many of you know, he was one of the founders of the Health Physics program. He served the last 15 years as the chair of the Physics Department and was the chair who was responsible for developing the engineering program on this campus as well.”

Patriot Drive will be renamed for Dr. Joe Heyward who served at the university for over three decades.
“Dr. Heyward served in almost every capacity on this campus, including interim president between April 1999 and July 1999 when I came on board,” Carter said. “Nobody loves this university more than Dr. Heyward.”

The board also ratifying two new options of Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in the Master of Science in Nursing.

Author: Stephan Drew

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