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Florence-Darlington Tech President Jermaine Ford: Pee Dee 'like coming home'
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FLORENCE-DARLINGTON TECH

Florence-Darlington Tech President Jermaine Ford: Pee Dee 'like coming home'

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Jermaine Ford

New Florence-Darlington Technical College President Jermaine Ford (left) shakes hands with Florence-Darlington Technical College Commission Chairman Paul Seward after a board meeting held Tuesday.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Jermaine Ford might have found his permanent home.

Ford was appointed president of Florence-Darlington Technical College in August. He began working on Monday, just in time for a Tuesday meeting of the college’s governing commission.

After the meeting, he told the Morning News that he applied for the position because he felt like the community was similar to his hometown in Illinois – he estimated his hometown had three or five traffic lights – and to the community served by Southern Louisiana Technical College, where he served as vice president of workforce and economic development.

“For me, it was like coming home,” Ford said. “Although, I didn’t grow up here, it was like coming home.”

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He said that when he interviewed with the commission, he and his wife didn’t leave right afterward. They stayed for another day to see the people and learn about the community.

“My wife said, ‘Dear, this feels like home,’” Ford said. “I said yes it does. Happy wife, happy life.”

Ford’s love for the region apparently was similar to the love the college’s governing commission had for him. Ford was unanimously appointed by the college’s governing commission in August.

He replaces interim president Ed Bethea, who served from 2018 until Ford’s appointment by the commission earlier this year. The most recent permanent president of Florence-Darlington Tech, Ben Dillard, retired in 2018.

“I got the call in August to come to the Florence-Darlington Tech family, and I have been off to the races since doing research,” Ford said. “What a wonderful community we have. In Florence County, Darlington County and Marion County, we have some good people, and my Lord, we have some good food.”

Ford said for the first 90 to 100 days, he plans to do a deep dive assessment and to get to know the community and the college’s stakeholders.

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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FLORENCE, S.C. – Beginning Friday, Florence One Schools students will not be required to wear masks. Florence One Schools Board Chairman Porter Stewart confirmed at Thursday evening's board of trustees meeting that the 60-day mask mandate implemented by the board in August will expire and that control over masks will return to the administration. Superintendent Rich O'Malley said at the meeting that the administration's policy would be to follow the recommendations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to strongly recommend but not mandate masks in the district's schools. 

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