FMU cancels 50th annual gala due to COVID-19 concerns

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FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Francis Marion University’s 50th Anniversary gala has been put in permanent quarantine by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Officials with the FMU Education Foundation announced the gala, originally scheduled for April and postponed until October 1 at the FMU Performing Arts Center, has been cancelled due to concerns over safety and venue capacity.  

Lauren Stanton, executive director of the Education Foundation, said they considered many plans for moving, or altering the event, but in the end, the safety of the FMU community had to take precedence. 

“We’re disappointed we will not be able to join together with our friends and fellow Patriots to put an exclamation point on FMU’s 50th year,” said Stanton. “The situation is simply not going to allow that to happen. We thank all those who had purchased tickets or supported the event as sponsors. We will get together soon.” 

Tim Norwood, chair of the Education Foundation Board, said that while he was sad to see the gala go, FMU’s 50th anniversary has been memorable all the same. 

“We’ve had several great events focused on our big anniversary,” said Norwood. “The gala would have been a nice capstone, but this was still a very special year in which the university set an enrollment record and continued to invest in the university’s future. We’ve spent most of this year looking forward rather than looking back. This doesn’t change that.” 

Patrons of the gala recently received notification of the cancellation and information on refunding their sponsorships and ticket purchases, if that is their desire. Proceeds from the event go to support the FMU First Generation Scholarship Fund. 

For more information, you can contact Lauren Stanton at the FMU Education Foundation at lauren.stanton@fmarion.edu, or call at 843.661.1200. 

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