Engineering begins

Joshua Lloyd, Staff Writer

As of January 2014, Francis Marion University’s (FMU) department of physics and astronomy is offering a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering. 

The program will require a 122-credit hour course of study that includes instruction in physics, high-level mathematics, business and engineering.

“This is an important degree for Francis Marion,” said President Fred Carter, PhD. “It came about as a result of a broad based interest among several companies and industries across the region.”

Carter said the Pee-Dee Region is home to many companies that are in need of industrial engineers, which makes FMU a great place for this type of applied science program.

“I think this will grow to be a very popular program here, in attracting students from this area,” Carter said. “And I know it will be a very, very popular program for the companies and industries that support this university.”

Carter added that many local manufacturers and industries have reached out to FMU in support of the program, and are on board with various work-studies and internship opportunities for this degree,

The new program is partnered with Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), which will allow students to access the laboratories located within the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT) on FDTC’s campus.

“We’ll also be using some of the technical college faculty to assist us in teaching some of the engineering laboratory courses,” Carter said. “So it will be a good partnership with Tech in that regard, and we’re very enthusiastic about that.”

According to Carter, the university has hired one new industrial engineering professor, Dr. Lorna Cintron-Gonzalez, and plans to hire additional faculty to the program in the near future.

Cintron-Gonzalez received a doctorate in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in health systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her undergraduate studies were completed in her native country at the University of Puerto Rico.

“This is all very exciting and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Cintron-Gonzalez said. “Not everyone gets to come in and help start a program like this. I’m excited to see it grow.”

The FMU faculty, with the help of colleagues at Virginia Tech, developed and approved the curriculum in approximately a year and a half which, Carter said, is “phenomenal.”

Dr. DavidPeterson, chair of the department of physics and astronomy, said that this degree is not only an addition to the FMU curriculum, but it is an asset that can be utilized by the entire region.

“It’s the first B.S. degree in engineering in the Pee Dee area,” said Peterson. “It’s a great opportunity for students who want to work in the engineering discipline in this area.”

For more information about the industrial engineering program, contact Peterson by e-mail at or Cintron-Gonzalez at