FMU trustees extend president's contract

Francis Marion University's Board of Trustees recently extended the contract of its president, Fred Carter.

Carter, who became president of the university in 1999, now has a contract that runs through 2020, the 50th anniversary of the school.

"It should come as no surprise that the board is extremely pleased with the job President Carter is doing and with the team of faculty and staff he's assembled at the university," said William W. Coleman Jr., chairman of FMU's board. "Extending his contract to 2020 will take us to the 50th anniversary of the university, giving him our vote of confidence in a way that's quite meaningful."

Carter said he he's grateful for the extension, though he had no plans to leave.

"I would never consider leaving this institution," he said. "It's too important to me, and I enjoy the job too much."

In addition to extending Carter's contract, the board voted to boost housing and meal rates at the university. Room rates and meal plans will both be increased by 7 percent, the first increases in two years.

Coker College names its first poet laureate

Coker College named Columbia native Terrance Hayes as the school's first poet laureate.

Hayes, a 1994 graduate of Coker, has had poetry published in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, and The New Yorker. He has been profiled on PBS' "The News Hour," and his 2006 collection of poetry, "Wind in a Box," was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly.

As the school's first poet laureate, Hayes will dedicate an original poem to the college, give readings and serve as a guest teacher.

"As one of our most distinguished graduates, it's a pleasure to officially recognize Terrance's success and lift him up as an example of what is right about Coker College," Coker president Robert Wyatt said.

Hayes said his life and work have been shaped by his experiences at Coker.

"I was nurtured in countless ways by many people at Coker," he said. "The lessons I learned continue to guide me as a teacher, writer and citizen. This was an honor that I happily and proudly accepted."

Grant to help expand broadband access

The S.C. Technical College System will use a $5.9 million federal grant to expand broadband access in rural areas of the state.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, will fund the tech system's S.C. REACH for Success initiative.

"Accessibility is a cornerstone for the S.C. Technical College System," said Barry Russell, president of the system. "The award of this grant will help the system along with our partners deliver this accessibility to the most rural areas of the state."

- Wayne Washington