FMU graduates largest fall class

Students receive first doctoral degrees


Photo by: Rosaline Abuaita

Graduates sit in anticipation as they wait for their chance to receive their degrees.

Kaitlyn Luna, Editor-in-Chief

FMU graduated its largest Fall class in the history of the university, and presented its first ever doctoral degrees at the university’s fall commencement ceremony on Saturday Dec. 15, 2018.

Degrees were presented to 329 graduates with 204 receiving baccalaureate degrees and 125 receiving advanced degrees, seven of which were Doctorates of Nursing Practice. Nineteen of the baccalaureate degrees were received with Latin honors. 

At the ceremony, two honorary doctorate of humanities were presented by President Luther F. Carter to former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court Costa M. Pleicones, who now practices as a lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, and Dr. John  A. Keith, III, who has served as a Pee Dee area pediatrician for more than 18 years.

The ceremony began with the FMU Brass Ensemble processional of “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar as the faculty and graduates marched in and found their seats. University Chaplin Merritt B. Graves gave the opening invocation and prayer and the FMU Concert Choir then performed “And Wherever You Go” by Douglas A. Wagner.

Carter then addressed the graduating class, congratulating them on their accomplishments.

“Graduates, here you are,” Carter said. “You’ve mastered a demanding curriculum, taught by a fine faculty. No shortcuts. No soft courses. No special considerations. All of you worked hard for these degrees.”

Carter then went on to tell the graduates that they should be proud of all of the hard work  they had put toward their degrees.

“Just remember,” Carter said. “The degrees that you will be receiving are the degrees that you earned.”

Carter also said the graduates have accomplished something great and because of it FMU and its faculty now embrace them as one of their own.

“You are a graduate,” Carter said. “That is a distinction you will carry for the remainder of your life.”

Carter finished his address by reminding students to thank the people who supported them and helped them get to where they are.

“Today is also a day to remember your families’ contributions,” Carter said. “Most of you wouldn’t be here without their encouragement and support. Take a few minutes to thank them for that support, for their sacrifices, maybe for imbuing you with a strong sense of the importance of fulfilling this educational goal.”

After being presented with his honorary doctorate, Pleicones addressed the graduates, encouraging them to be the difference they wish to see in the world.

Pleicones began by saying that FMU has been a guide and a source of nurturing for the graduates.

“Alma mater, as you may know, is Latin for kindly mother,” Pleicones said. “And that is precisely what Francis Marion University has been during your time here.”

Pleicones went on to say that FMU has given the graduates all that they will need to face the real world. He described the real world as a place that is not always a safe conflict-free place.

Pleicones also said FMU has encouraged students to listen to opposing points of view because there is sometimes value in opinions that do not line up with their own.

“You are not entitled to live in a world that is offense-free and always makes you comfortable,” Pleicones said. “What a boring existence that would be.”

Pleicones finished his address by encouraging the graduates to take on the world and to always remember that it is their alma mater that will allow them to do this.

After degrees were handed out, graduates and faculty recessed and then the stage was open for guests to take pictures of their graduate.