ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop’s new state-of-the-art campus classroom building will bear the name of a consummate Winthrop volunteer and supporter, Glenda Pittman Owens, and husband Jerry of Charleston, S.C. She currently serves on the executive committee of the university’s Board of Trustees.
President Anthony DiGiorgio announced the naming of the Glenda Pittman and Charles Jerry Owens Hall, which will be built directly behind Bancroft Hall, during the board’s annual retreat Feb. 18. Groundbreaking on the $6.5 million academic building of lecture halls, classrooms and smart technology will be in March.
"We are extremely humbled and deeply appreciative," Glenda Owens said. "Winthrop has been a big part of my life so supporting Winthrop has been like supporting an old friend. It is satisfying to support something that is meaningful and that you believe in. We are excited about the direction in which the university is heading."
Winthrop officials said the institution’s physical structures reflect the values upon which the university was built. The facilities bear the names of presidents, public servants, elected officials, philanthropic benefactors and employees whose ethics and service helped create a thriving community.
Couple values education
The Owenses embody a couple who earned a good education, followed a disciplined life of hard work, and have dedicated themselves to community service, including giving back to their alma maters.
"With the appreciation of education at the heart of everything they do for Winthrop, Glenda and Jerry Owens stand out for their dedication to this university," said Karl Folkens, chairman of Winthrop’s Board of Trustees. "The decision to name the university’s newest classroom building Owens Hall is a wonderful way for us to honor the Owens for their gifts to Winthrop and for Glenda’s outstanding service to this board, to the Alumni Association and the foundation. We place great value on the Owens’ many contributions and want others to remember their steadfast commitment to the university’s highest ideals."
Winthrop is now engaged in a building effort that will last over the next few years. The campus will be re-centered so its main hub of activity will follow Scholars Walk, from the new library and past the new three-story Owens Hall, to the Lois Rhame West Center and a soon-to-be constructed campus center. Designed in the neo-Georgian style, the building will couple the university’s commitment to historic exteriors with a contemporary, technologically advanced interior.
Owens Hall will be unlike any current Winthrop facility, serving a number of students’ academic needs under one roof. It will contain two 100-seat classrooms, 16 smaller classrooms, a large computer lab, two conference rooms and a student lounge. Each of the classrooms in the 32,220-square-foot building will be equipped with smart technology, and all academic units will use the facility.
First generation college graduate
A member of the class of 1959, Glenda Pittman Owens came to Winthrop from her family’s farm in Lancaster County where she grew up. A first generation college graduate, she began her many years of volunteer leadership serving as president of Bancroft Hall during her junior year, graduating with a degree in library science. After a brief career as a teacher and librarian, she became a full-time mother to raise the family’s three children. Her husband is a graduate of Furman University and the Medical University of South Carolina. After serving on the faculty of the Medical University for 10 years, he entered private practice in nephrology. During this time, Glenda Owens remained active in community and civic affairs, volunteering for many worthwhile causes.
Owens said remaining active with Winthrop has been a natural extension of her education. Her Winthrop experience opened up a new world of challenges and opportunities as well as gave her the skills to become a productive citizen.
Owens has served as president of the university’s Alumni Association, worked as reunion gift chair and as a leader in the Charleston Alumni Club, all of which contributed to her selection for the university’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1999. Following a term on the Foundation Board, Owens was elected by the S.C. General Assembly in 2000 to a position on Winthrop’s Board of Trustees. She has been selected as board secretary and chair of the University Relations Committee for the past three years.
The Owenses are frequent visitors to campus to attend academic, sporting and entertainment events. As major donors, the pair contributed to the success of the Lasting Achievement capital campaign and have been exemplary role models and loyal contributors to the Annual Fund.
"My years of service at Winthrop have been a real joy. I feel very fortunate that I have had the time to serve and that Jerry and I have had the resources to give. Without an education, this would not have been possible," Glenda Owens said. "Half of the joy of having something is sharing it with others."
For more information, contact the Office of Development at 803/323-2150.