Francis Marion University was founded on July 1, 1970 through a special piece of legislation signed by Governor Robert McNair. The bill creating the then college, was in response to an overwhelming need for a public education institution in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.
The university can actually trace its history to 1957 when, at the behest of local Florence citizens, the University of South Carolina established a “freshman center” at the Florence County Library. In 1961, a permanent campus for what was then known as USC-Florence was established seven miles east of Florence on land donated by the Wallace family. That campus is the current location of FMU. Enrollment at USC-F grew steadily, reaching 350 by the mid-1960s. Around that time, community leaders began a movement to establish a four-year institution in Florence.
Francis Marion gained university status in 1992.
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