Francis Marion University is embarking on an innovative new partnership to promote research and scholarship at Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000 acre preserve fronting on Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to Georgetown, S.C.
Hobcaw is rich in natural and historic treasures. Through a series of unique circumstances over the centuries, it remains available for the use of South Carolina colleges and universities in this century in near-pristine form. The reasons as to why and how that is possible, in the middle of such a heavily developed area as South Carolina’s Grand Strand, is the subject of the lead story in this issue of the View.
But let me invite the readers’ attention to one aspect of this partnership that may likely give pause to FMU old-timers.
One of our primary partners at Hobcaw is Coastal Carolina University.
That’s right- our old rivals from Conway; the ones we used to love to taunt on basketball courts and baseball fields, and everywhere else we had the chance. How, die-hard Patriots will ask, could we be collaborating with those guys?
Well, it’s really quite simple. While we share some rivalries with CCU because of athletics and geography, both schools are comprehensive regional universities charged with serving growing constituencies in northeastern South Carolina. Over the years, we have worked closely together to accomplish this mission.
Twelve years ago, the two schools worked to create NESA, the Northeastern Strategic Alliance, an economic hub that unites the ten counties of the Pee Dee and Grand Strand into a developmental and workforce partnership. And now, through this initiative, we will jointly explore the prospects of expanding research and service opportunities along the South Carolina coast.
The two schools have assisted each other many times and in many ways, and now Hobcaw promises to be the one of the most exciting of all of these endeavors. It won’t be the last. Look for more CCU-FMU collaborations in the years ahead.
But between now and then- Go Patriots!