ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University President Anthony J. DiGiorgio announced today the appointment of University College Dean Brien Lewis as acting vice president of Development and Alumni Relations effective July 1.
Lewis’ new duties will include overseeing the Winthrop Foundation and offices of Alumni Relations and Development, as well as the work of the Real Estate Foundation. These offices work with the university’s alumni and supporters to fulfill the university’s Vision of Distinction and strategic plans.
DiGiorgio praised Lewis for his enthusiasm and ability to build consensus across campus. “He will bring a range of experience and an intimate knowledge of our campus,” the president said. “He possesses an appreciation of the growing role of private fundraising to help our students succeed in a global environment.”
As Lewis moves to oversee the alumni and development efforts, Kathryn Holten, the current vice president of advancement, will take on leadership of a new division comprising enrollment management, admissions, marketing, university relations and printing services. Her division has been charged with positioning the university to reach its next milestones in achieving a national profile and with increasing the enrollment of the undergraduate student body over the next decade. Holten leaves the division having overseen a successful restructuring of the alumni association, put into place new development programs that yielded significant gains in private fundraising, as well as an increase in the Foundation’s endowment to over $30,000,000, an increase of nearly 40 percent.
“With our new leadership team, we are poised to move rapidly into positioning the university to fulfill strategic objectives across the board,” DiGiorgio said. “Taking advantage of key longtime employees who know our institution and culture best, and who have proven themselves as more than capable of achieving new challenges, will well serve this university and its many stakeholders.”
In addition, the university will begin a national search for a newly created position of director of development to further coordinate fundraising efforts.
Since 2003, Lewis has served as dean of University College, Winthrop’s academic division charged with enhancing student achievement and engagement. Lewis has made securing support for programs within University College a priority. The college won a four-year grant of $880,000 from the U.S. Department of Education for TRiO, an academic-support program designed to increase the academic performance, retention rates and graduation rates of program members.
With Lewis’ departure from University College, Assistant Dean Jennifer Solomon will become the acting dean. Solomon, a sociology professor, has been responsible since the college’s inception for several initiatives, such as the Common Book Project, and has worked collaboratively with leaders of academic and student life programs. She also is co-chair of REACH, a student retention program.
Prior to being appointed dean, Lewis was executive assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Trustees for four years, beginning in 1999. He served as the chair of the President’s Task Force on the Nature and Character of the University. In addition to his administrative roles, Lewis has taught employment law in the College of Business Administration and introduction to law in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Lewis grew up in Canada around universities as the son of an English professor. He gained advocacy and problem-solving experience as a superior court mediator in North Carolina before coming to Winthrop. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina as a Morehead Scholar, as well as a law degree at the University of Toronto.